Bioremediation technique for soils contaminated by heavy oil

About Solution

Currently, oil is one of the main economic sources of the department of Casanare, Colombia, however, oil generates hazardous waste that affects the environment, causing degradation of natural resources. The problem is even greater in case of accidents and oil spills since it can be incorporated in other environments, ingested by people and cause diseases.

The solution we present is related to a novel bioremediation technique based on a natural absorbent that improves the collection and recovery of a contaminated environment, without causing negative effects to the ecosystem. The basic component of this natural absorbent has a high level of oil absorption and is very economical since it is obtained as a waste in poultry farms. This absorbent is a hydrophobic protein that comes in the form of an edible meal for California red worms (Eisenia Foetida).

This earthworm is a pertinent alternative, given its detritivore capacity, that is to say that it obtains its food from decomposing organic matter and from the removal of polluting agents such as heavy metals. The implementation of this worm species in bioremediation is a novel technique since it assimilates metals through the digestive tract, through mucilaginous secretions, thus allowing the transformation of organic matter; in the same way, earthworms can increase microbial and nutrient activity. It has also been shown that these earthworms stimulate bacteria, fungi and species related to the degradation of heavy metals.

This technique can be applied successfully in other cities in the world where oil spills cause soil deterioration since the earthworms become a natural fertilizer.



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