Bio-catalytic desulfurization of fossil fuels: a mini review

  • Abdulmumin A. Nuhu


For a long time now, the combustion of fossil fuels to give usable energy has led to the release of many types of pollutants into the atmosphere. Of particular interest is sulfur dioxide derived from combustion of diesel and related organic-sulfur containing media. Its presence in the air has resulted in the deterioration of health and depletion in aesthetic quality of materials. As a result, environmental regulations are now put in place to regulate the level of sulfur in different fuel types. To achieve this goal, many techniques have been tested, and bio-catalytic desulfurization is now being considered due to some limitations with conventional hydrodesulfurization approach. This essay discusses various kinds of microbial isolates that are harnessed for this purpose, and the influence of genetic engineering techniques and various factors on the activities of these biocatalysts. With increasing knowledge of microbial ecology, better understanding of biochemical systems, exploration of new conversion pathways and optimization of bioreactor design, enhancement in this approach is expected to bring an increase in its acceptability and improve the prospects of its full commercialization as viable alternative to the conventional hydrodesulfurization of fossil fuels.


Bio-catalytic desulfurization Fossil fuel Analytical techniques Environmental regulations Hydrodesulfurization Cyanobacteria 



The author wishes to extend his appreciation to King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals for providing the avenue for this review.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of SciencesKing Fahd University of Petroleum and MineralsDhahranSaudi Arabia

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