Environmental Microbiology: Memo

To: Student

From: Tutor/Course Lecturer

Date: 19th October 2012 Bacterial

Subject: Examining the Changes That Occur On Matter During Bacterial Breakdown.

The experiment was carried out to establish the action of microorganisms on breakdown of matter. In the first study, two samples of organic matter were used. The first sample was carried out in an open setup to observe the action of the microorganisms on the decaying matter in the presence of oxygen. The second sample was carried out in an enclosed chamber to observe the action of microorganism in the absence of oxygen. The aim of this study was to establish the changes which take place due to action of aerobic bacteria and anaerobic bacteria on decaying matter. In the second trial, the study was carried out to establish the action of microorganisms on the oil molecules. Two trials were carried out to find out one in water and the other one in the soil. These two trials were meant to elaborate how oil molecules breakdown in the sol or water as a result of action of microorganisms.

From the first test, the students learnt that the action of microorganisms was necessary to break down organic compounds into less poisonous substances which would otherwise damage the environment. Also, because different organic matters are found in different air conditions, the action of both aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms are important to ensure that all biodegradable substances are broken down regardless of where they occur. The trial carried out in a closed chamber was the directing test with a fixed environment. It was important to have a trial in fixed conditions whose outcome could be compared with those of others carried out in varied conditions. Biodegradation refers to permanent transformation of the matter by action of microorganisms which affect its mass, feel, color and other aspects of the matter. The decomposition takes place gradually whereby the color and texture keep on changing. The mass also continues to reduce as heat is generated. However, first, the effect is rapid and later continues to reduce and almost stabilizes as mot of the contents is consumed. The structures of the oil molecules are broken down by Hydrocarbonoclastic Bacteria which makes it soluble in the water or soil and is less poisonous. After its action on oil molecules, the bacteria either get demised or gets back to its original state. The oil molecules which had not been broken down by microorganism form a coagulant of poisonous substance which is sticky and dull in color. The amount of microorganisms present in the oil sample will determine the amount of oil molecules that will be broken down. The enhanced cloudy in the trial containing oil molecules is due to the broken down oil molecules and the fact that they were not completely consumed by microorganisms. Additionally, due to the reaction between microorganisms and the oil, other substances were formed such as asphaltene which were insoluble in the water hence remained suspended and eventually increased turbidity.

The breakdown of oil by microorganisms begins by losing n-paraffin and acyclic isoprenoids compounds present in the oil. The action of the microorganism in breaking down the oil molecules into different substances is facilitated by the presence of the catalysts such as “yeast, pseudomonas and penicillium.” The biodegradation of oil is very essential in reducing adverse effects of the oil spills in the environment. The toxicity is reduced which makes it less dangerous to the aquatic life due to oil spill in the ocean and other water bodies of through ground seepage.

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