|Biodegradation is the chemical dissolution of materials by bacteria or other biological means. Although often conflated, biodegradable is distinct in meaning from compostable.
Petroleum hydrocarbons are among the most common environmental contaminants. Petroleum and its hazardous products can be released into the environment through various production, processing, and consumption operations. Consequently, environmental pollution with petroleum and its products has become an issue of global concern, particularly with the anticipated boost in the production and consumption of fossil fuels.
Pollution with petroleum hydrocarbons in the Arabian Gulf region has become a serious environmental issue. In deed the Arabian Gulf is one of the most heavily polluted aquatic environments worldwide. It was estimated that ca 60% of the oil transported via the sea is shipped in the Arabian Gulf. Furthermore, the Arabian Gulf region has witnessed the largest oil spill to date in terms of the amount of crude oil discharged. During the 1991 Gulf war the release of about 11 million barrels of crude oil has lead to the pollution of all environmental components in the region.
In recent years a study was undertaken to isolate crude-oil degrading bacteria from petroleum-polluted soil collected from oil fields in Bahrain and Kuwait and to assess their biodegradation potential. Biosurfactants production by the isolated bacteria was also investigated. Furthermore, we tested the effect of commercially available ZnO nanoparticles on growth and oil biodegradability.