The biodegradation of crude oil in a stirred reactor
Mehta, Vikram D.
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The study of crude oil degradation was conducted on the crude oil supplied by FINA. The sludge from the industrial treatment facility on Gulf coast was utilized as a source of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria (15gm of sludge/liter of oil-water mixture) . The degradation study was conducted at lab scale and in a 21 1 stirred reactor at a neutral pH of 7.0. Sufficient nutrients were supplied by the basal salt solution prepared in distilled water. Oxygen was supplied at a rate of 0.6 SCFH to maintain aerobic condition. Two different oil concentrations, 5% and 10% (volume percent), were tried in the degradation experiments. The daily reduction in total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) were measured by using the EPA 418.1 method. It was observed that at the end of 21 days, more than 90% of oil was destroyed with a 5% oil concentration and about 82% reduction was observed with a 10% crude oil concentration. In all the experiments, the formation of viscous chocolate oil-water emulsion, i.e. , "mousse," was the most evident phenomenon. At the end of 21 days, this oil-water emulsion was reduced to less viscous slurry, indicating the degradation of heavy hydrocarbons of crude oil.