The Effect of Nutrients on the Degradation of Hydrocarbons in Mangrove Ecosystems by Microorganisms

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Université de Liège - Gembloux Agro Bio-Tech. Centre Wallon de Biologie Industrielle. Passage des Déportés, 2. B-5030 Gembloux, Belgium

2 Centre Wallon de Recherche Agronomique (CRA-W). Chaussée de Namur, 24. B-5030 Gembloux, Belgium


Mangrove ecosystems are areas prone to various types of pollution, especially hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons mostly stem from human activities such as spills coming from offshore oil operations, runoff from surrounding urban areas or atmospheric deposition. This pollution causes the decline of mangroves, which results in an imbalance in the functioning of this particular ecosystem with damages to the microbiota. Biodegradation allows to restore these ecosystems. This biodegradation can only be effective in specific environmental conditions. The presence of nutrients, which stimulate bacterial growth and promote biodegradation, is a key parameter to be considered. During this experiment, we achieved biodegradation tests to assess the effect of nitrogen and phosphorus on the process. The results showed that the biodegradation rates were strongly bound to the presence of nutrients. The degradation rates depended on the medium. The treatment that reached the best rate of degradation of diesel after 10 days was the one using 20% of a nutrient solution (MSM) containing nitrogen and phosphorus. This treatment led to a maximal degradation of 84.7% ± 4.7% obtained in the flasks containing 20% of a nutrient solution (MSM) containing nitrogen and phosphorus.