African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12306

Full Length Research Paper

Evaluation of soil microbial communities as influenced by crude oil pollution

Eucharia Oluchi Nwaichi*
  • Eucharia Oluchi Nwaichi*
  • University of Port Harcourt Port Harcourt Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar
Magdalena Frac
  • Magdalena Frac
  • Institute of Agrophysics, Felin Lublin Poland.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 27 February 2015
  •  Accepted: 27 April 2015
  •  Published: 13 May 2015


Impact of petroleum pollution in a vulnerable Niger Delta ecosystem was investigated to  assess interactions in a first-generation phytoremediation site of a crude oil freshly-spilled agricultural soil. Community-level approach for assessing patterns of sole carbon-source utilization by mixed microbial samples was employed to differentiate spatial and temporal changes in the soil microbial communities. Genetic diversity and phenotypic expressions were measured for a more holistic perspective. The 5’-terminal restriction fragments generated after Csp digestion of 16S rRNA gene correlated with observed DNA concentrations in the community profile and revealed loss of diversity with pollution. Crude oil pollution significantly reduced phosphomonoesterases and respiratory activities and values were pH dependent. There were no expressed dehydrogenases  activity in initial spill site but were enhanced with phytoremediation. Factor analysis of predictors and independent variables indicates that respiratory, alkaline phosphatase and β-glucosidase activities could be used to explain underlying factors. Positive soil – microbes - plant interactions were observed.
Key words: Species diversity, impact of crude oil pollution, soil – biota interactions, ecosystem monitoring, genetic diversity.


TTC, 2,3,5-Triphenyltetrazolium chloride; TPF, triphenyl formazan; PNP, para-nitro phenyl phosphate; PCR, polymer chain reaction; ENT, effective number of types.