One of the most common chemicals involved in the soil contamination or soil pollution is petroleum hydrocarbons (PHs). As we know that PH-contaminated soil affects human health directly, such as (i) contact with soil, (ii) via inhalation of vaporized contaminants, and (iii) infiltration of soil contamination into groundwater aquifers used for human consumption. Microbiological processes play an important role in the removal of PHs and take advantage of the catabolic versatility of these organisms to degrade such compounds either partially or completely (mineralization). Thus, the present chapter moves around the relationship of microorganisms with PHs. Based on this concept, this chapter has been designed to address the following relevant issues: How to isolate PH-degrading microorganisms by co-enrichment and optimized enrichment methods? How to study the microbial community structure by high-throughput sequencing method? What are the metabolic versatilities of microorganisms for degrading PHs? How to treat the environmental problems through biological means? What are the available ecotoxicity studies for the analysis of residual PHs after the microbiological treatment at the PHs-contaminated sites? Thus, the aim of this chapter is to explain the importance of microorganisms in cleaning the oil-contaminated environments.
Part of the book: Recent Insights in Petroleum Science and Engineering