Adaptation and Deployment of Biotechnology in Bio-Enterprise Development in Agriculture, Industry, Environment, Nigeria Crude Oil Finger Printing etc.

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Project Overview

Principal Investigator/s

Gloria I. B. Obioh; Co-Investigator: Dr. Onmonya, Yvonne Adaobi

Background Information

Crude oil reserves were formed under wide variety of bio-geological conditions and ages; hence, such reserves exhibit unique chemical characteristics or (bio) marker. Analyses of source-characteristic and environmentally-persistent biomarkers generate unique fingerprints of great importance in determining the source of crude oil, differentiating oils, monitoring the degradation process and biodegradation state of oils under a wide variety of conditions. Biological markers or biomarkers are complex molecules that derive their origin from previously living organisms. The conversion of a vast number of the precursor biochemical compounds from living organisms into biomarkers creates a vast suite of compounds in crude oils that have persistently distinct structures. Biomarkers may retain all or most of original carbon skeleton of the original natural product. This structural similarity with the origin reveals more information about their source than other compounds. Consequently, biomarker fingerprinting has historically been used by petroleum geochemists in characterization of oils in terms of the type(s) of: Precursor organic matter in the source rock; Correlation of oils with each other and oils with their source rock; Determination of depositional conditions; Assessment of thermal maturity of oil during burial, and Evaluation of migration and the degree of biodegradation. It is therefore equally expedient that molecular techniques are used to unambiguously profile and authenticate the unique signatures of the Nigerian crude in order to trace and track our crude around the globe, thereby discouraging theft and resolving conflicts as well as improving revenues accruable to Government.

Objective and Scope

The main objective of the Project is to characterize and fingerprint the Nigerian Crude Oil using molecular techniques as basis for tracking to stem oil theft as well as for Source-Apportionment in the event of oil spill among other applications. Scope of activities include:

  1. Development of Implementation Framework through Stakeholders Consultations
  2. Preliminary Studies to understand the issues, existing body of knowledge, gaps in knowledge nationally and stimulate a buy-in by industry Players.
  3. Procurement of relevant equipment and materials for crude oil research.
  4. Profiling the Nigerian Crude Oil using Molecular and Biochemical Assay Techniques.
  5. Protocols, Software and Database development.


This is a new Project and milestones at present include:

  1. Development of Implementation Framework
  2. Procurement of reagents and consumables
  3. A number of activities are being undertaken to bridge the gaps in knowledge
  4. Critical industry Players have been sensitized
  5. Analytical Capacity of more staff have been built In-house
  6. Collaboration with critical Stakeholders to facilitate joint fieldwork

Research Details

  • Category:Environmental Biotechnology