Comparative Study of Fungal Diversity inhabiting Biofilms of Corroded Oil Pipelines in Delta and Rivers State of Nigeria


Department of Soil Science, University of Uyo, P.M.B. 1017, Uyo

(2)Department of Soil Science University of Calabar

P.M.B. 1115, Calabar


Corrosion is a leading cause of pipeline failure in the oil and gas industries because of the

activities microbial populations.   The  aim of the study was to assess fungal  diversity

associated with corrosive biofilms of oil pipelines in two sites (Warri in Delta and Oshie in

Rivers States) within the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Coupons were inserted into the inner

surfaces of the pipelines (9’’, 10’’, 18’’ and 24’’ diameter) through the access valves for a

period of 127 days. The coupons were detached from the inner surfaces of the pipelines at the

end of 127 days and biofilm formed on the surfaces of each coupon were scraped with sterile

razor blades and collected into sterile bottles containing 5 ml phosphate-buffered saline at

pH 7 and taken to the laboratory for the cultivation fungi. The results from Rivers State (site

1)  showed the  following fungal  species:  Verticillum dahlae, Botrytis  cineriae, Penicillium

corylophilum, Humicola grisae, Aureobasidium  pullulans,  Monilia balanitis, Hormoconis

resinae, Sacchanomyces cerevisae, Aspergillus fumigatus, Fusarium semitectum, Bactridium

sp and Eurotium repens. The results revealed a Sorenson’s coefficient (cc) of 0.60, indicating

that fungal communities in site 1 and 2 have a bit of overlap or similarity. The results further

showed that  diversity and evenness in site  2 are much higher than in site  1. Fungal

populations in sites 2 are not only higher in the number of species present, but the individuals

in the community are distributed equitably among these species.  This shows that pipelines

located in site  1 (Delta State)  are likely to be  severely  corroded than site  2 (River State).

Microbial communities in biofilms developed on surfaces of metals in natural environments

are heterogeneous and  there  is significant uncert ainty concerning  how  many  of these

organisms contribute to corrosion of metals. Therefore, the thorough knowledge of microbial

species inhabiting biofilms of oil pipelines will give effective means of detecting, monitoring

and control of corrosion of oil  pipelines;  this will significantly  reduce  pollution of

agricultural lands and the environment by oil spillages in the Niger Delta. 

Keyword:  Fungal diversity, biofilms, corroded oil pipelines 


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