Main Article Content
Aims: To investigate the variation in the activities of some soil enzymes and microbial respiration during phytoremediation of crude oil polluted agricultural soil.
Study Design: Indigenous plants of a crude oil polluted agricultural farmland were harvested and identified. Two species (Schwenkia americana L. and Spermacoce ocymoides Burm. f.) were selected for this study. Nursery was set up using sterile soil and mature and viable seeds of selected species, and germinated seedlings were transplanted into an 8 kg potted homogenised polluted soil for remediation.
Place and Duration of Study: Polluted agricultural soil from Ogoniland Nigeria, University of Port Harcourt ecological garden, between May 2017 and February 2018.
Methodology: Protease activity was determined based on the amino acids released after incubation of soil with sodium caseinate. Phosphatase activities determination was based on determining the degradation extent of ρ-nitrophenol phosphate (PNPP) by the samples. Dehydrogenase activity was determined based on estimation of 2,3,5- triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) reduction to triphenyl formazan (TPF) in soils after incubation. The substrate induced method was adapted to estimate the respiratory activity. Organic matter was determined by weight loss on ignition method.
Results: Dehydrogenase activities in remediated groups increased after 4 weeks but decreased at the end of the remediation period. Protease and phosphatase activities, and soil organic matter of remediated groups reduced over time while the soil microbial respiratory activity reduced at the end of 12 weeks remediation. There was a restoration of the polluted soils by the treatments towards normalcy with regards to activities of proteases, acid and alkaline phosphatases, and dehydrogenases.
Conclusion: Soil microbial activities can reflect soil quality, and soil enzyme activities can directly reflect the metabolic need and nutrient availability of soil microorganisms. The extracellular enzymes (protease, dehydrogenase, acid and alkaline phosphatase) were shown to vary with crude oil pollution relative to time thus indicating ameliorative effects.