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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 5798593, 10 pages
Research Article

Potential of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon-Degrading Bacterial Isolates to Contribute to Soil Fertility

1Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria, Lynnwood Road, Hatfield, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
2Agricultural Research Council-Institute for Soil, Climate and Water (ARC-ISCW), 600 Belvedere Street, Arcadia, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
3Department of Biotechnology, Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark 1900, South Africa
4Unit for Environmental Science and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
5Centre for African Ecology, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Wits 2050, South Africa

Received 29 April 2016; Revised 11 August 2016; Accepted 4 September 2016

Academic Editor: Dilfuza Egamberdieva

Copyright © 2016 Maryam Bello-Akinosho et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Restoration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon- (PAH-) polluted sites is presently a major challenge in agroforestry. Consequently, microorganisms with PAH-degradation ability and soil fertility improvement attributes are sought after in order to achieve sustainable remediation of polluted sites. This study isolated PAH-degrading bacteria from enriched cultures of spent automobile engine-oil polluted soil. Isolates’ partial 16S rRNA genes were sequenced and taxonomically classified. Isolates were further screened for their soil fertility attributes such as phosphate solubilization, atmospheric nitrogen fixation, and indoleacetic acid (IAA) production. A total of 44 isolates were obtained and belong to the genera Acinetobacter, Arthrobacter, Bacillus, Flavobacterium, Microbacterium, Ochrobactrum, Pseudomonas, Pseudoxanthomonas, Rhodococcus, and Stenotrophomonas. Data analysed by principal component analysis showed the Bacillus and Ochrobactrum isolates displayed outstanding IAA production. Generalized linear modelling statistical approaches were applied to evaluate the contribution of the four most represented genera (Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Arthrobacter, and Rhodococcus) to soil fertility. The Pseudomonas isolates were the most promising in all three soil fertility enhancement traits evaluated and all isolates showed potential for one or more of the attributes evaluated. These findings demonstrate a clear potential of the isolates to participate in restorative bioremediation of polluted soil, which will enhance sustainable agricultural production and environmental protection.