Newly isolated halotolerant Aspergillus sp. showed high diesel degradation efficiency under high salinity environment aided with hematite


The contamination of saline soil with hazardous petroleum hydrocarbons is a common problem across coastal areas globally. Bioaugmentation combined with chemical treatment is an emerging remediation technique, but it currently shows low efficiency under high saline environments. In this study, we screened and used a novel halotolerant lipolytic fungal consortium (HLFC) combined with hematite (Fe2O3) for the bioremediation of diesel contaminated saline soils. The changes in total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) concentrations, enzyme activity, and microbial diversity were compared among different treatments (HLFC, hematite, hematite-HLFC, and control). The results showed that TPH degradation was significantly (P < 0.05) enhanced in hematite-HLFC (47.59–88.01%) and HLFC (24.26–72.04%) amended microcosms across all salinity levels, compared to the treatments of hematite (23.71–66.26%) and control (6.39–55.20%). TPH degradation was positively correlated with lipase and laccase enzyme activities, electrical conductivity, and the water holding capacity of the soil. Analyses of the microbial community structure showed that microbial richness decreased, while evenness increased in HLFC and hematite-HLFC treatments. The relative abundances of Alicyclobacillus, Sediminibacillus, Alcanivorax, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Candida genera were significantly high in hematite-HLFC and HLFC amended microcosms. Our findings provide a promising new microbial-based technique, which can degrade TPH efficiently in saline soil.

Journal of Hazardous Materials