Effect of temperature on biodegradation of crude oil

Abdulrazag Y. Zekri, Omar Chaalal

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)


An active strain of anaerobic thermophilic bacteria was isolated from the environment of the United Arab Emirates. This project studied the effect of temperature, salinity and oil concentration on biodegradation of crude oil. Oil weight loss, microbial growth and the changes of the crude oil asphaltene concentration are used to evaluate the oil degradation by this strain. A series of batch experiments was performed to study the effects of bacteria on the degradation of crude oil. The effects of oil concentration, bacteria concentration, temperature and salinity on the biodegradation were investigated. The temperatures of the studied systems were varied between 35 and 75°C and the salt concentrations were varied between 0 and 10%. Oil concentrations were ranged from 5 to 50% by volume. Experimental work showed the bacteria employed in this project were capable of surviving the harsh environment and degrading the crude oil at various conditions. Increasing the temperature increases the rate of oil degradation by bacteria. Increasing the oil concentration in general decreases the rate of bacteria oil degradation. Salinity plays a major role on the acceleration of biodegradation process of crude oil. An optimum salinity should be determined for every studied system. The finding of this project could be used in either the treatment of oil spill or in-situ stimulation of heavy oil wells.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Specialist publicationEnergy Sources
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • Asphaltene
  • Biodegradation
  • Thermophilic bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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