Phycoremediation of Coastal Marine Water Contaminated with Dissolved Oil by Nannochloropsis oculata


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Organic pollutants may reach the aquatic environment through oil spills during transportation and/or oil production processes, and most of the studies about oil degradation are mainly related to the role of bacteria and fungi in this process. Considering the vulnerability of the marine environment to oil accidents, the present work investigated the biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons in contaminated marine waters using Nannochloropsis oculata microalga at a laboratory scale. The biodegradation experiment was carried out in reactors with natural seawater, microalga strain, and petroleum (C1 indicates 0.04 g L −1 and C2 indicates 0.08 g L −1 of petroleum). A reactor without petroleum (C0) was carried out to assess the density of microalgae cells. Total petroleum hydrocarbons analysis was carried out through liquid–liquid extraction, and quantification was done by gas chromatography–flame ionization detection (GC-FID), while the cell counting was performed using a microscope equipped with a Neubauer chamber. N. oculata showed good adaptation to both concentrations, indicating its resistance against petroleum pollutants and its growth ability even in the presence of petroleum. N. oculata was able to degrade petroleum hydrocarbons for both concentrations (~ 83% of the light and ~ 60% of the heavy compounds for C1; and ~ 74% of the light and ~ 58% of the heavy compounds for C2 in 22 days) and the percentage of degradation for each simulation were 68 and 65% for C1 and C2 reactors, respectively. This is a pioneering and relevant study and may be helpful to further studies regarding N. oculata application and phycoremediation of dissolved oil.
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