Date of Award

Spring 1992

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Paul W. Kirk, Jr.

Committee Member

Andrew S. Gordon

Committee Member

Charles E. Bell

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 D94


Four experiments were performed to determine the ability of marine higher fungi to grow in and degrade crude oil. Eight species, previously determined to be hydrocarbonoclastic, were grown in artificial sea water medium (ASM) and southern Louisiana crude oil. The dry mycelial weights were measured and consumption of crude oil was measured gravimetrically. The two species with the best growth, Corollospora maritima and Zalerion maritimum, were grown in ASM containing crude oil spiked with three known hydrocarbons. To this was added glucose (0.15%) and incubated 49 days to test for possible cometabolism of hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons remaining in the growth medium were extracted and analyzed using a gas chromatograph to measure the extent of hydrocarbon loss. The same two species were grown in ASM and spiked crude oil supplemented with the oleophilic fertilizer Inipol, to determine whether there was enhanced growth and hydrocarbon loss.

All species tested could live and grow in the crude oil. The growth was modest with z. maritimum giving the best results, 2.1mg dry mycelial weight after 175 days incubation. Neither C. maritima nor, L. maritimum showed any ability to co-metabolize hydrocarbons with glucose. The addition of Inipol® to crude oil produced greater fungal growth but failed to enhance hydrocarbon loss.


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