Effect of biostimulation using sewage sludge, soybean meal, and wheat straw on oil degradation and bacterial community composition in a contaminated desert soil

Sumaiya Al-Kindi, Raeid M M Abed

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Waste materials have a strong potential in the bioremediation of oil-contaminated sites, because of their richness in nutrients and their economical feasibility. We used sewage sludge, soybean meal, and wheat straw to biostimulate oil degradation in a heavily contaminated desert soil. While oil degradation was assessed by following the produced CO2 and by using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), shifts in bacterial community composition were monitored using illumina MiSeq. The addition of sewage sludge and wheat straw to the desert soil stimulated the respiration activities to reach 3.2-3.4 times higher than in the untreated soil, whereas the addition of soybean meal resulted in an insignificant change in the produced CO2, given the high respiration activities of the soybean meal alone. GC-MS analysis revealed that the addition of sewage sludge and wheat straw resulted in 1.7-1.8 fold increase in the degraded C14 to C30 alkanes, compared to only 1.3 fold increase in the case of soybean meal addition. The degradation of ≥90% of the C14 to C30 alkanes was measured in the soils treated with sewage sludge and wheat straw. MiSeq sequencing revealed that the majority (76.5-86.4% of total sequences) of acquired sequences from the untreated soil belonged to Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, and Firmicutes. Multivariate analysis of operational taxonomic units placed the bacterial communities of the soils after the treatments in separate clusters (ANOSIM R = 0.66, P = 0.0001). The most remarkable shift in bacterial communities was in the wheat straw treatment, where 95-98% of the total sequences were affiliated to Bacilli. We conclude that sewage sludge and wheat straw are useful biostimulating agents for the cleanup of oil-contaminated desert soils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number240
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberMAR
Publication statusPublished - Mar 4 2016



  • Bioremediation
  • Desert soil
  • Illumina
  • Oil
  • Sewage sludge
  • Soybean meal
  • Wheat straw

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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