From Surface Water to the Deep Sea: A Review on Factors Affecting the Biodegradation of Spilled Oil in Marine Environment

Hernando Pactao Bacosa, Sheila Mae B. Ancla, Cris Gel Loui A. Arcadio, John Russel A. Dalogdog, Dioniela Mae C. Ellos, Heather Dale A. Hayag, Jiza Gay P. Jarabe, Ahl Jimhar T. Karim, Carl Kenneth P. Navarro, Mae Princess I. Palma, Rodolfo A. Romarate, Kaye M. Similatan, Jude Albert B. Tangkion, Shann Neil A. Yurong, Jhonamie A. Mabuhay-Omar, Chihiro Inoue, Puspa L. Adhikari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past century, the demand for petroleum products has increased rapidly, lead-ing to higher oil extraction, processing and transportation, which result in numerous oil spills in coastal-marine environments. As the spilled oil can negatively affect the coastal-marine ecosystems, its transport and fates captured a significant interest of the scientific community and regulatory agencies. Typically, the environment has natural mechanisms (e.g., photooxidation, biodegradation, evaporation) to weather/degrade and remove the spilled oil from the environment. Among various oil weathering mechanisms, biodegradation by naturally occurring bacterial populations removes a majority of spilled oil, thus the focus on bioremediation has increased significantly. Helping in the marginal recognition of this promising technique for oil-spill degradation, this paper reviews recently published articles that will help broaden the understanding of the factors affecting biodegradation of spilled oil in coastal-marine environments. The goal of this review is to examine the effects of various environmental variables that contribute to oil degradation in the coastal-marine environments, as well as the factors that influence these processes. Physico-chemical parameters such as temper-ature, oxygen level, pressure, shoreline energy, salinity, and pH are taken into account. In general, increase in temperature, exposure to sunlight (photooxidation), dissolved oxygen (DO), nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium), shoreline energy (physical advection—waves) and diverse hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms consortium were found to increase spilled oil degradation in marine environments. In contrast, higher initial oil concentration and seawater pressure can lower oil degradation rates. There is limited information on the influences of seawater pH and salinity on oil degradation, thus warranting additional research. This comprehensive review can be used as a guide for bioremediation modeling and mitigating future oil spill pollution in the marine environment by utilizing the bacteria adapted to certain conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number426
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar


  • bioremediation
  • environment
  • factors
  • fates of spilled oil
  • oil spills
  • oil weathering
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)


Dive into the research topics of 'From Surface Water to the Deep Sea: A Review on Factors Affecting the Biodegradation of Spilled Oil in Marine Environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this