Technological watch

Advancing Eco-Sustainable Bioremediation for Hydrocarbon Contaminants: Challenges and Solutions

In an era of rising population density and industrialization, the environment confronts growing challenges. Soil, agricultural land, and water bodies are becoming increasingly polluted by petroleum waste and hydrocarbons. While hydrocarbons are naturally present in crude oil, refining processes compound the complexity and toxicity of hydrocarbons. This is particularly evident in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in the air and soil, known for their carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic properties. In response, biodegradation emerges as an eco-friendly, cost-effective solution, especially in petroleum-contaminated settings. Biodiverse microbial communities play a pivotal role in managing hydrocarbon contamination, contingent on location, toxicity, and microbial activity. To optimize biodegradation, understanding its mechanisms is essential. This review delves into varied bioremediation techniques, degradation pathways, and the contributions of microbial activities to efficiently removing hydrocarbon pollutants. Recent research spotlights specific microorganisms like bacteria, microalgae, and fungi adept at hydrocarbon degradation, offering a contemporary perspective on petroleum hydrocarbon pollutant bioremediation. These microorganisms efficiently break down petroleum hydrocarbons, with enzymatic catalysis markedly accelerating pollutant breakdown compared to conventional methods. Given the intricate nature of hydrocarbon contamination, cooperative bacterial consortia are instrumental in effective cleanup, driven by specific genes guiding bacterial metabolism. For cost-effective and efficient removal from compromised environments, it is advisable to adopt an integrated approach that combines biostimulation and bioaugmentation.

Publication date: 22/10/2023

Author: Bothaina A. Alaidaroos

Reference: doi: 10.3390/pr11103036

MDPI (processes)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.