Lecturer - Analytical Chemistry University of KwaZulu-Natal Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Hydrocarbon analogues and their susceptibility to degradation by bacterial isolates is a topic less explored since more focus is drawn toward the degradation of hydrocarbon blends such as waste oils due the environmental hazard it poses. It is the selectivity of bacterium isolates and susceptibility of n-alkane analogues that is vital in assessing the degradative effect of the bacterial isolates on these waste oils feedstock, which comprise of a range of hydrocarbon analogues. The efficiency of biodegradation implemented on a range of n-alkanes by bacterial isolates V2, D9 and Hybrid systems (V2:D9, 1:1) were confirmed and identified by GC-FID with observed biodegradation for an alkane range between C8-C36 (1.2 - 38.7 %). The n-alkane analogues ranging from C8-C36 degraded at a rate proportionate to their individual chain length with larger chains requiring a longer degradation time. On the other hand, liquids alkanes in the range C8-C16 (22.1 – 38.1 %) proved to be more susceptible to degradation in comparison to the solid alkanes ranging C18-C36 (1.2 – 25.8 %). It can thus be suggested that solid n-alkanes are perceived to undergo a ‘lag phase’ prior to the onset of degradation, and display a higher degree of hydrophobicity as well as lower surface interaction than liquids.