Petroleum pollution inevitably occurs at any stage of oil production and exerts a negative impact on the environment. Some microorganisms can degrade petroleum hydrocarbons (PHs). Polluted sludge of Rumaila oil field was use to isolate the highly efficient hydrocarbon-degrading fungal strain. Aspergillus sp. RFC-1 was obtained and its degradation ability for petroleum hydrocarbons was evaluated through surface adsorption, cell uptake, hydrophobicity, surface tension, biosurfactant production, and emulsification activity. In addition, the degradation mechanism was investigated. The results indicated the strain RFC-1 showed high removal activity for PHs, including biodegradation, adsorption, and emulsifiability. On the day 7 of incubation, the removal efficiencies of crude oil, naphthalene (NAP), phenanthrene (PHE), and pyrene (PYR) reached 60.3%, 97.4%, 84.9%, and 90.7%, respectively. Biodegradation efficiencies of crude oil, NAP, PHE, and PYR were 51.8%, 84.6%, 50.3%, and 55.1%, respectively. Surface adsorption and cell absorption by live mycelial pellets followed a decreasing order: PYR ≥ PHE > NAP > crude oil. Adsorption by heat-killed mycelial pellets increased within 40 and 10 min for crude oil and PAHs, respectively, and remained constant thereafter. Effects of cell surface hydrophobicity, surface tension, and emulsification index were discussed. Intra- and extracellular enzymes of strain RFC-1 played important roles in PHs degradation. The strain RFC-1 is a prospective strain for removing PHs from aqueous environments.
Aspergillus ; bioaccumulation; biodegradation; degradation kinetics; petroleum hydrocarbons; removal