Volume 29 (1983) Issue 1 Pages 41-50
Gas chromatographic analyses of Norman Wells crude oil were used to determine its biodegradability in oil-contaminated cultures containing the ciliate Colpidium colpoda and a mixture of oil-degrading bacterial species. Within these cultures the specific growth rates (b) of Colpidium ranged from 0.018 to 0.026/hr while maximum cell densities were-3, 000 cells/ml. Similarly, high numbers of oil-utilizing bacteria (up to 3.86 ×108cells/ml) were maintained throughout the experimental period. Ratios of the n-C17/pristane and n-C18/phytane peak heights were used to assess biodegradation. Ratios in bacterized treatments without ciliates incubated for 31, 43 and 54 days were slightly lower than their respective control values. Conversely, pronounced decreases in these ratios were apparent in cultures containing both bacteria and ciliates. Therefore, the presence of Colpidium colpoda enhanced the in vitro microbial degradation of crude petroleum.