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Oil Spills Bioremediation in Moderate and Cold Climates


Development and Optimization of Bioremediation Techniques for Oil-Polluted Sites in Moderate and Cold Climates

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-REM/Bioremediation/Biotechnology
  • BIO-MIB/Microbiology/Biotechnology
  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms, Russia, Moscow reg., Puschino

Supporting institutes

  • Novosibirsk State University, Russia, Novosibirsk reg., Novosibirsk


  • University of Helsinki, Finland, Helsinki\nUniversität Innsbruck / Institut für Mikrobiologie, Austria, Innsbruck\nTexas A&M University / Department of Civil Engineering, USA, TX, College Station\nNOVA Chemicals Corporation, Canada, AB, Calgary

Project summary

Deterioration of ecological conditions in many countries of the world is determined bu environmental contamination by oil and oil products. In Russia the problem has got such scales in which excavation and cleaning the polluted soil ex situ are almost impossible. Methods of bioremediation in situ are an alternative approach.

Distinctive feature of oil pollution in Russia is that these territories are situated, mainly, in a climatic zone with prevalence of low temperatures. Technologies of bioremediation are applicable under the conditions of moderate and cold climate, however, features of bioremediation processes should be considered.

Main objective of the Project is working out of the most effective complex of the measures directed on clean-up and restoration of polluted soils in situ that will allow to use them in the conditions of moderated and cold climate rationally.

Last research has shown that bioremediation based on a principle of activation of soil microflora, is insufficiently effective in the conditions of low temperatures. Approaches offered by us to accelerate processes of bioremediation are based on introducing active consortia of microorganisms capable of degrading oil and oil products.

Expansion of our knowledge of physiological and ecological features of microorganisms degrading oil will promote development of new bioremediation technologies and improvement of available ones.

The scientific purpose of the project is receiving fundamental knowledge of a role of bacteria and their effective application in various technologies of bioremediation.

The project includes such problems, as screening active oil-degrading strains containing catabolic plasmids; selection of microbial consortia and microbial-plant associations capable of degrading oil and oil products and producing bioemulsifiers; studying compatibility and degradative activity of selected microorganisms, conditions and cultivation modes, survival at long storage; an estimation of efficiency of oil degradation by introduced microbial consortia in comparison with native communities of microorganisms and the biopreparations of Joint-Stock Company "Biooil" activated by addition of fertilizers (phosphates and nitrates) in model soil systems and during field tests at moderate and low temperatures.

Consortia of active psychrotrophic microorganisms degrading oil hydrocarbons as the basis to create bioperparations for bioremediation of oil-spilled soils will be created and their efficiency in laboratory and field conditions will be tested. As a part of consortia and the basis of biopreparations psychrotrophic, halotolerant microorganisms utilizing oil hydrocarbons and producing bioemulsifiers will be used. Besides, the presence of plasmids in cells of degrader strains may raise biodegradation efficiency because of horizontal transfer of catabolic genes between introduced and indigenous oil-oxidizing microorganisms.

Offered approaches for bioremediation of territories polluted by oil and oil hydrocarbons can be used for the decision of global environmental problems existing in oil-mining northern regions of Russia and over the world.

Expected results and benefits will include:

  1. Isolation of new industrial strains degrading oil hydrocarbons, including those containing catabolic plasmids;
  2. Elaboration of methods of stimulation of indigenous oil-oxidizing microorganisms activity;
  3. Cheap, effective and reproduced techniques of introducing active degraders in the polluted sites;
  4. The estimation of efficiency of process of biodegradation of oil and oil products by selected microbial consortia and microbial-plant associations in comparison with existing biopreparations;
  5. applications for patents for strains and consortia of oil-degrading strains, biopreparations to clean up soils from oil pollution, ways of their production, storage and application;
  6. New approach in bioremediation of oil-polluted territories in moderate and cold climate.


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