Pollution by crude oil and its products is one of the most prevalent environmental problems that cause greenhouse effects and global warming. The crude oil-degrading potentials of Pennisetum glaucum was investigated using 0.2, 0.9, 5.0 and 6.0% v/w concentrations of crude oil, which were employed to pollute soil planted with the seeds of the plant. These treatments were repeated in soil without seeds and the control had no crude oil pollution. Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) were determined for all soil samples using gas-liquid chromatography. Microbial count was carried out on soil rhizosphere using standard methods. The results show that percentage TPH degraded in soil planted with P. glaucum was 100, 99.53, 99.44 and 99.47 for 0.2, 0.9, 5.0 and 6.0% v/w concentrations, respectively. P. glaucum alone degraded 0.56, -0.29, 0.39 and 0.31% for the same treatments. The total viable count of microorganisms from the polluted, vegetated soil samples was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than that of the unvegetated ones. P. glaucum might have enhanced the biodegradation of crude oil by stimulating the proliferation of microorganisms in the soil and hence may be used for phytoremediation of crude oil polluted soils.
Key words: Pennisetum glaucum, crude oil, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), microorganisms.
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