Caister Academic Press

Hydrocarbonoclastic Biofilms

Dina M. Al-Mailem and Samir S. Radwan
from: Biofilms in Bioremediation: Current Research and Emerging Technologies (Edited by: Gavin Lear). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2016) Pages: 183-200.


Biofilms harboring hydrocarbonoclastic (hydrocarbon-degrading) bacteria occur naturally, and are widely distributed in aquatic, terrestrial and even atmospheric environments. They seem to play a role in the 'self-cleaning' of environments contaminated with oil, oil vapor and oil derivatives. Such biofilms may develop on inanimate substrates such as gravel particles, small stones and waste metal, wood and plastic pieces. They may also be associated with animate biotic substrates, e.g. biofouling materials, macroalgae, cyanobacterial mats, the roots (rhizospheres) and leaves (phyllospheres, phylloplanes) of higher plants, as well as with fish and other aquatic animals. Hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria also live naturally in association with phototrophic picoplankton in surface waters and mud flats. Biofilms comprising hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria can be established artificially on inert substrates such as gravel particles, or on glass and plastic plates. These man-made biofilms are promising tools for the bioremediation of oil-contaminated materials in bioreactors. In biofilms, hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria enjoy various benefits which facilitate and enhance their oil-biodegradation activity, especially when coexisting with phototrophic and diazotrophic microorganisms which enrich the biofilm with oxygen and nitrogenous compounds. This principally occurs because oxygen and nitrogen are limiting factors to the mineralization of hydrocarbons by bacteria read more ...
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