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Microbial decomposition of mineral oil

Article no. P4100900 | Type: Experiments

20 Minutes
30 Minutes
grades 10-13 , University
Pupils , Teachers/Professors , Students


Some microorganisms living in soil and water are capable of utilizing mineral oil compounds as carbon and energy sources. They break down these compounds to produce carbon dioxide and water, thereby decomposing mineral oil. Particularly mycobacteria, corynebacteria and proactomycetes are able to decompose mineral oil.


  • The experiment shows how to clean soil contaminated by oil in a environmentally friendly way
  • Microbiology experiment which can be performed under non-sterile conditions
  • Experiment to grow mineral-oil degrading microorganisms in small scale
  • Particularly educational in countries with mineral oil industry


  • Verify the presence of mineral oil-degrading microorganism in any type of soil samples

Learning objectives

  • Contamination with mineral oil
  • Degradation of mineral oil using biological agents
  • Mineral oil-degrading microorganisms

File name
File size
File type
(de) Versuchsbeschreibung
p4100900_de .pdf
File size 2.20 Mb
(en) Experiment guide
p4100900_en .pdf
File size 2.18 Mb
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