Phytoremediation of Soil Contaminated with Crude Oil Using Mucuna Bracteata


  • Kuok Ho Daniel Tang Curtin University Malaysia
  • Yu Wei Eric Law Curtin University Malaysia



This study examines the ability of Mucuna bracteata DC. to remediate soil contaminated with increasing levels of crude oil up to 20%. It also investigates the effect of fertilizer application on crude oil degradation. Changes in crude oil concentrations, pH and moisture of the soil in eight experimental pots were tracked over a period of 9 weeks. The crude oil levels in soil were analysed as Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPHs) using the UV-Vis spectrophotometer. The study revealed the capacity of Mucuna bracteata to phytoremediate soil contaminated with crude oil in all experimental pots though the plant died at 20% contamination towards the end of the experiment. The plant survived up to 15% contamination with that in the fertilized pot showing better physical conditions. In all instances, fertilized pots showed higher rates of crude oil reduction. The amounts of crude oil degraded in fertilized pots were also higher except at 20% contamination. The soil pH varied over a narrow range throughout the experimental period. Moisture of soil contaminated with 15% and 20% crude oil was higher than that contaminated with 5% and 10% crude oil. Mucuna bracteata showed signs of phytoextraction which can be subject to further study. This study contributed a new candidate of phytoremediation for soil contaminated with high level of crude oil.


Mucuna bracteata, Rhizodegradation, Contamination, Fertilizer, Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon, Phytoextraction


[1] Popa, M., Dumitrel, G.A., Mirel, G. and Popa, D.V. Anthropogenic Contamination of Water From Galda River - Alba County, Romania [J]. Agriculture and Agricultural Science Procedia, 2015, Vol. 6: 446–452.

[2] Sharma, A., Sharma, P., Sharma, A., Tyagi, R. and Dixit, A. Hazardous effects of petrochemical industries: A review [J], Recent Advances in Petrochemical Science, 2017, 3(2),

[3] Amuakwa-Mensah, F., Marbuah, G. and Marbuah, D. Re-examining the determinants of non-performing loans in Ghana’s banking industry: The role of 2007-2009 financial crisis [J]. Journal of African Business, 2017, 18.

[4] OPEC. World crude oil production [R]. 2015.

[5] De la Huz, R., Lastra, M. and López, J. Oil spills [M]. In J.O. Nriagu (Ed.), Encyclopedia of environmental health, 2011: 251-255, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier.

[6] Wang, Y., Feng, J., Lin, Q., Lyu, X., Wang, X. and Wang, G. Effects of crude oil contamination on soil physical and chemical properties in momoge wetland of China [J]. Chinese Geographical Science, 2013, 23 (6): 708–715.

[7] BBC. Report: One fifth of China’s soil contaminated [R]. 2014.

[8] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO. Status of the world’s soil resources (Technical Report) [R]. 2015.

[9] Balasubramaniyam, A. The Influence of Plants in the Remediation of Petroleum Hydrocarbon- Contaminated Sites [J]. Pharmaceutical Analytical Chemistry: Open Access, 2015, 1 (1): 1–11.

[10] Ighovie, E.S. and Ikechukwu, E.E. Phytoremediation of crude oil contaminated soil with Axonopus compressus in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria [J]. Natural Resources, 2014, 5 (2): 59–67.

[11] Abdel-Shafy, H.I. and Mansour, M.S. A review on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: source, environmental impact, effect on human health and remediation [J]. Egyptian Journal of Petroleum, 2016, 25(1): 107-123.

[12] Adetitun, D., Akinmayowa, V., Atolani, O., and Olayemi, A. Biodegradation of jet fuel by three Gram negative Bacilli isolated from kerosene contaminated soil [J]. Pollution, 2018, 4 (2): 291–303.

[13] Robinson, J.P., Kingman, S.W., Lester, E.H. and Yi, C. Microwave remediation of hydrocarbon contaminated soils – Scale-up using batch reactors [J]. Separation and Purification Technology, 2012, 96: 12-19.

[14] Tang, K.H.D., Juan, A. Phytoremediation of crude oil-contaminated soil with local plant species [J]. Paper presented at the 11th Curtin University Technology, Science and Engineering (CUTSE) International Conference, Curtin University Malaysia, Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia, 2018.

[15] Kumar, A., Bisht, B.S., Joshi, V.D., and Dhewai, T. Review of bioremediation of polluted environment: A Management Tool [J]. International Journal of Environmental Science, 2011, 1 (6): 1079–1093.

[16] Baumann, A. Das Verhalten von Zinksatzen gegen Pflanzen und im Boden [J]. Landwirtsch. Vers.-Statn, 1885, 31: 1-53.

[17] Njoku, K.L., Akinola, M.O. and Oboh, B.O. Phytoremediation of crude oil contaminated soil: the effect of growth of Glycine max on the physico-chemistry and crude oil contents of soil [J]. Nature and Science, 2009, 7 (10): 79-87.

[18] Makombe, N. and Gwisai, R.D. Soil remediation practices for hydrocarbons and heavy metal reclamation in mining polluted soils [J]. The Scientific World Journal. 2018,

[19] Atlas, T.M. and Bartha, R. Microbial ecology: fundamentals and application [M]. Canada: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1981.

[20] Macci, C., Peruzzi, E., Doni, S., Poggio, G. and Masciandaro, G. The phytoremediation of an organic and inorganic polluted soil: A real scale experience [J]. International Journal of Phytoremediation, 2015, 18 (4): 378-386.

[21] Gouda, A.H., El-Gendy, A.S., Abd El-Razek, T.M. and El-Kassas, H.I. Evaluation of phytoremediation and bioremediation for sandy soil contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons [J]. International Journal of Environmental Science and Development, 2016, 7 (7): 490-493.

[22] Anyasi, R.O. and Atagana, H.I. Profiling of plants at petroleum contaminated site for phytoremediation [J]. International Journal of Phytoremediation, 2018, 20 (4): 352-361.

[23] Sanusi, S.N.A., Halmi, M.I.E., Abdullah, S.R.S., Hassan, H.A., Hamzah, F.M. and Idris, M. Comparative process optimization of pilot-scale total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) degradation by Paspalum scrobiculatum L. Hack using response surface methodology (RSM) and artificial neural networks (ANNs) [J]. Ecological engineering, 2016, 97: 524-534.

[24] Idris, M., Abdullah, S.R.S., Titah, H.S., Latif, M.T., Abasa, A.R., Husin, A.K., Hanima, R.F. and Ayub R. Screening and identification of plants at a petroleum contaminated site in Malaysia for phytoremediation [J]. Journal of Environmental Science and Management, 2016, 19 (1): 27-36.

[25] Agamuthu, P., Abioye, O.P and Abdul Aziz, A. Phytoremediation of soil contaminated with used lubricating oil using Jatropha curcas [J]. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2010, 179 (1-3): 891-894.

[26] Al-Mansoory, A.F., Idris, M., Abdullah, S.R.S. and Anuar, N. Phytoremediation of contaminated soils containing gasoline using Ludwigia octovalvis (Jacq.) in greenhouse pots [J]. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2017, 24 (13): 11998-12008.

[27] Ng, C.C., Boyce, A.N., Rahman, M.M., Abas, M.R. and Mahmood, N.Z. Phyto-evaluation of Cd-Pb using tropical plants in soil-leachate conditions [J]. Air, Soil and Water Research, 2018, 11. (1178622118777763).

[28] Ogboghodo, I.A., Iruaga, E.K., Osemwota, I.O. and Chokor, J.U. An assessment of the effects of crude oil pollution on soil properties, germination and growth of maize (Zea mays) using two crude types–Forcados light and Escravos light [J]. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 2004, 96, (1-3): 143-152.

[29] Lin, Q. and Mendelssohn, I.A. The combined effects of phytoremediation and biostimulation in enhancing habitat restoration and oil degradation of petroleum contaminated wetlands [J]. Ecological Engineering, 1998, 10 (3): 263-274.

[30] Dominguez-Rosado, E. and Pichtel, J. Phytoremediation of soil contaminated with used motor oil: II. Greenhouse studies [J]. Environmental Engineering Science, 2004, 21 (2): 169-180.

[31] Olson, P.E., Castro, A., Joern, M., DuTeau, N.M., Pilon-Smits, E., & Reardon, K.F. Effects of agronomic practices on phytoremediation of an aged PAH-contaminated soil [J]. Journal of environmental quality, 2008, 37 (4), 1439-1446.

[32] Jagtap, S.S., Woo, S.M., Kim, T.S., Dhiman, S.S., Kim, D. and Lee, J.K. Phytoremediation of diesel-contaminated soil and saccharification of the resulting biomass [J]. Fuel, 2014, 116: 292-298.

[33] Merkl, N., Schutze-Kraft, R. and Infante, C. Assessment of tropical grasses and legumes for phytoremediation of petroleum contaminated soils [J]. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 2005, 165 (1-4): 195-209.

[34] Andrade, M.L., Covelo, E.F., Vega, F.A. and Marcet, P. Effect of the prestige oil spill on salt marsh soils on the coast of Galicia (Northwestern Spain) [J]. Journal of Environmental Quality, 2004 (33): 2103 – 2110.


How to Cite

Tang, K. H. D., & Law, Y. W. E. (2019). Phytoremediation of Soil Contaminated with Crude Oil Using Mucuna Bracteata. Research in Ecology, 1(1), 20–30.


Article Type