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In this study, hydrocarbon degradation potentials of heterotrophic bacteria isolated from oil-polluted soil were examined; Samples were collected from Sakpenwa, an oil producing community in Tai LGA of Rivers State. The amounts of hydrocarbon in the soil samples were determined using Gas Chromatography-Flame Ionization Detector, GC- FID. The gravimetric analysis showed that the bacteria were capable of utilizing 96.9-99.7% the oil sample. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) carried out at 95% level of confidence showed that the degree of hydrocarbon degradation varied amongst isolates. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Alcaligenes sp. showed highest degrading activities while Bacillus subtilis showed least activity. This study revealed that indigenous bacterial species possess the requisite gene necessary for hydrocarbon biodegradation. Biodegradation is most often the primary mechanism for contaminant destruction in the environment including petroleum contaminants.
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