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Application of whole-cell biosensor for the impact of crude oil exploration on the environment of the Niger Delta

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2018
Number of pages246
Awarding Institution
Thesis sponsors
  • Petroleum Technology Development Fund
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The discovery of crude oil in exportable quantities in Nigeria was greeted with overwhelming ovation and high expectations in terms of the wealth generation possibilities and economic growth for the region. However, 5 decades onwards, the Niger-delta terrain and its people have become disenchanted with the ills and aggravated impacts of crude-oil discovery as a result of unsustainable patterns of its exploitation in Nigeria. The inundation of oil spills, accompanying ecological disasters and human health risks served to undermine the benefits of huge petroleum resource revenues. Nigeria has recorded over 3,324,269.28 million barrels of crude oil spills from 12,854 spills incidents as captured since 1976-2011 and the polluting process persists as a result of exploration, drilling and production activities as well as flagrant disregard for best health, safety, security and Environmental practices (HSSE). Even though these spills have been blamed on various factors, the fact remains that the people and environment of the Niger-delta desperately need state, public and private intervention to stem the menace of environmental pollution engulfing the region. This research therefore proposes urgent rehabilitative measures expedited by the Bio-reporter approach, to enhance rapid detection, toxicity and management of spills impacted sites. The Bio-reporter method and its success is hinged on its advantages over the conventional method entailing rapid detection of genotoxicity, easy operations, inexpensiveness and more importantly it provides information about bioavailability. It is thus a complementary tool to the chemical analysis methods. The novel magnetic bio-reporter device developed with the magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) functionalization and also the device on Simultaneous and online detection of crude oil contamination via biological- phase micro-extraction and bios-sensing (BPME-BS) in the Niger Delta environment have been applied with significantly positive results. Consequently, the novel magnetic nanoparticle-mediated isolation (MMI) technology was tested on Nigerian soils for the separation and characterization of functional alkane degraders from crude-oil-contaminated sites. Essentially, the new technique’s qualities of cost-effectiveness and zero risk of species invasion on the environment has become more apparent from extensive experimentation.