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Biotech for Oil Cleaning


Development of technology for the elimination of environmental oil pollution.

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-RED/Remediation and Decontamination/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Nietzold D

Leading Institute
State Research Center for Applied Microbiology, Russia, Moscow reg., Obolensk


  • British Gas / Gas Research Center, UK, Loughborough\nBritish Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL), UK, Chesire, Risley Warrington\nTU Delft, The Netherlands, Delft

Project summary

As compared to common mechanical and physical and chemical techniques of cleaning up oil and oil products in any environment, the biotechnological methods are superior to them in some features, the main of which is efficacy and environmental safety.

Biodegradation methods are based on occurring naturally oil-oxidizing microorganisms. In biotechnology for oil pollution protection particular emphasis has been placed on use of the biopreparations based on oil-oxidizing microorganisms in order for remediation of soil and water purification, activation of indigenous microflora to stimulate autopurifucation of the environment from oil and oil products; application of bioreactors with immobilized cells for waste treatment of oil processing plants, and prophylaxis of accidental spills of oil and oil products through protection of oil processing equipment from biocorrosion and biodamages.

The project deals with the central trends of the development of biotechnology assuring environmental protection from oil hydrocarbons.

Studies will be performed on the development of the biopreparations based on oil-oxidizing mesophiles and psychrophiles adapted to their temperature conditions. Novel preparations to be applied in different environments (soil, sea water, fresh water), which provide favorable conditions for oil-oxidizing strains will be produced. The method of their application will be provided also.

Various procedures for optimization of indigenous oil-oxidizing microorganisms to promote natural purification of the polluted natural objects are supposed to be investigated.

In addition, a combined technology based on using bioreactors with immobilized oil-oxidizing microorganisms for on-site waste water purification at the oil processing plants are planned to be worked up.

In order to prevent the technological damages of the processing equipment (pipelines, tanks, etc) resulting in the catastrophic spills of oil, it is intended to develop the combined methods for its protection from biocorrosion and biodamages. Based on investigations of the mechanisms of biocorrosion and properties of destructing microorganisms, the perspective compositions with biocidal and anticorrosive action will be developed. The recommendations on their application will be given.

As a system for monitoring of the environmental protection, the reliable, precise and cost-effective methods for evaluation of soil and water toxicity by using various biological test-objects will be devised. The principle of the methods is the specification of different growth and physiological and biochemical indices with taking into account of update biophysical and biochemical approaches.

Activities according to the project are corresponded to the objectives of the ISTC because they allow the scientists and engineers gained knowledge in the defense area to re-orient their activity and aim it at solving fundamental and applied problems in the environmental protection as well as to join in the international community of scientists.