Isolation and Identification of Sulfur Degrading Bacteria in the Sludge from Tehran Refinery Wastewater Treatment

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assoc. Prof. of Environmental Health Engineering, Faculty of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran

2 Prof. of Microbiology, School of Medicine, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran

3 PhD Candidate of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil, Water and Environmenal Engineering, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, and Instructor of Applied Sciences and Technology University, Tehran, Iran


Identification of sulfur-degrading microorganisms is a major step in microbial desulfurization of organic compounds, especially oil. Microbial desulphurization is ecologically safe and economically justifiable; hence, the importance of knowledge on the identification, isolation, and adaptation of microorganisms from operational, economic, and environmental viewpoints. The objective of this descriptive‒applied research was to identify and isolate sulfur-degrading bacteria in the sludge from Tehran refinery wastewater treatment plant. For this purpose, 120 samples (10 samples per month over a 12‒month period) were collected from different locations and elevations of the sedimentation basin. The samples were then stirred and homogenized before they were transferred to the laboratory where they were cultured on specific and differential media to allow the microorganisms to grow. Finally, tests were performed and the following bacteria were identified in the samples: Brevundiomonas vesicularis, Acinetobacter spp, Clostridium spp, Alcaligenes spp, E.coli, Bacillus spp, Klebsiella spp, Acromobacter spp, and Desulfovibrio spp. Results indicate that all the bacteria identified in the samples used sulfur as their only source of energy. Another important contribution of this study is that Brevundiomonas vesicularis is for the first time identified in this study as a sulfur-degrading one.


Main Subjects

1. Pawelec, B., Navarro, R., Campos-Martin, J., and Fierro, J. (2011). “Towards near zero-sulfur liquid fuels: A perspective review.” Catal. Sci. Technol., 1, 23-42.
2. Seeberger, A., and Jess, A. (2010). “Desulfurization of diesel oil by selective oxidation and extraction of sulphur compounds by ionic liquids: A contribution to a competitive process design.” Green Chem., 12, 602-608.
3. Nevers, N.D. (2000). Air pollution control engineering, McGraw-Hill, N.Y.
4. Public Health Service. (1996). The effects of air pollution, Division of Air Pollution, Washington, D.C.
5. Anisimov, A., and Tarakanova, A. (2009). “Oxidative desulfurization of hydrocarbon raw materials.” Russ. J. Gen. Chem., 79, 1264-1273.
6. Ismagilov, Z., Yashnik, S., Kerzhentsev, M., Parmon, V., Bourane, A., Al-Shahrani, F., et al. (2011). “Oxidative desulfurization of hydrocarbon fuels.” Catal Rev. Sci. Eng., 35, 199-255.
7. Ho, T. (2004). “Deep HDS of diesel fuel: Chemistry and catalysis.” Catal. Today, 98, 3-18.
8. Adschiri, T., Shibata, R., Sato, T., Watanabe, M., and Arai, K. (1998). “Catalytic hydrodesulphurization of dibenzothiophene through partial oxidation and a water-gas shift reaction in supercritical water.” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 37, 2634-2638.
9. Mehran, S., and Amarjeet, B. (2007). “Biodesulfurization of refractory organic sulphur compounds in fossil fuels.” Biotechnol. Adv., 25, 570-596.
10. Agarwal, P., and Sharma, D. (2010). “Comparative studies on the biodesulfurization of crude oil with other desulfurization techniques and deep desulfurization through integrated processes.” Energy Fuels, 24, 518-524.
11. Kirkwood, K., Ebert, S., Foght, J., and Fedorak, P. (2005). “Bacterial biodegradation of aliphatic sulfides under aerobic carbon- or sulfur-limited growth conditions.” Appl Microbiol., 99,1444-1454.
12. AWWA. (2012). Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 22th Ed., USA.
13. Seperhrnia, N., Mahboubi, A.A., Mosadeghi, M.R., Khodakarmian, G., and Sinejani, A.S. (2012). “Effect of calcuim caronate and calcuim sufate on E.Coli survial in fine send mixtures.” J. of Environmental Studey, 38 (2), 117-126. (In Persian)
14. Babu, G.P., Subramanyam, P., Sreenivasulu, B., and Paramageetham, C. (2014). “Isolation and identification of sulfate reducing bacterial strains indigenous to sulphur rich barite mines.” Int. J. Curr. Microbiol App Sci., 3(7),788-793.
15. Laleh, A., Amiri, S., Ebrahimipour, G., and Fakhary, J. (2012). “Desulfurizaion of dibenzothiophene by klebsiella oxytoca siolated form oil-cantaminated sail in southern ahva.” Environmental Sceinces, 9 (3), 27-40. (In Persian).
16. Maria, C., Coaba, C., and Ver, K. (1991). Microbial examination of water and wastewater, Boca Raton, London.
17. Rath, K., Mishra, B., and Vuppu, S. (2012). “Biodegradingability of organo-sulphur compound of a newly isolated microbe Bacillus sp.” Applied Science Research, 4(1), 465-471.
18. Ranson, I., and Rivas, C. (2002). “Inventors; Biodesulfurization of hydrocarbons.” Google patentes Assignee.
19. McFarland, B. (1999). “Biodesulfurization.” Curr. Opin. Microbiol., 2, 257-264.
20. Kim, H., Kim, T., and Kim, B. (1990). “Degradation of organic compounds and the reduction of dibenzothiophene to biphenyl and hydrogen sulphide by desulfovibrio desulfuricans M6.” Biotechnol. Lett., 12, 761-764.
21. Kim, B., Kim, H., and Kim, T. (1995). “Selectivity of desulfurization activity of desulfovibrio desulfuricans M6 on different petroleum products.” Fuel Process Technol., 43, 87-94.
22. Lizama, H., Wilkins, L., and Scott, T. (1995). “Dibenzothiophene sulphur can serve as sole electron acceptor during growth by sulphatereducing bacteria.” Biotechnol. Lett., 17, 113-116.
23. Ohshiro, T., and Ishii, Y., (2005). “Dibenzothiophene desulfurizing enzymes from moderately thermophilic bacterium Bacillus subtilis WU-S2B: Purification, characterization and overexpression.” Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, 100(3), 266-273.