Oil pollution is a major environmental concern in many countries, and this has led to a concerted effort in studying the feasibility of using oil-degrading bacteria for bioremediation. Although many oil-degrading bacteria have been isolated from different environments, environmental conditions can impose a selection pressure on the types of bacteria that can reside in a particular environment. This study reports the successful isolation of two indigenous naphthalene-degrading bacteria from oil-contaminated tropical marine sediments by enrichment culture. Strains MN-005 and MN-006 were characterized using an extensive range of biochemical tests. The 16S ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) sequence analysis was also performed for the two strains. Their naphthalene degradation capabilities were determined using gas chromatography and DAPI counting of bacterial cells. Strains MN-005 and MN-006 are phenotypically and phylogenetically different from each other, and belong to the genera Staphylococcus and Micrococcus, respectively. Strains MN-005 and MN-006 had maximal specific growth rates (μmax) of 0.082 ± 0.008 and 0.30 ± 0.02 per hour, respectively, and half-saturation constants (Ks) of 0.79 ± 0.10 and 2.52 ± 0.32 mg per litre, respectively. These physiological and growth studies are useful in assessing the potential of these indigenous isolates for in situ or ex situ naphthalene pollutant bioremediation in tropical marine environments.

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