PERFORMANCE OF PISTIA STRATIOTES (L.) AS AFFECTED BY WATER SOLUBLE FRACTIONS OF UNIVERSAL ENERGY AKWA IBOM CRUDE OIL IN ABRAKA, DELTA STATE, NIGERIA
Environmental pollution and degradation caused by the processing and refining of crude oil has been on the increase since its discovery in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Its negative impacts are unquantifiable though its refined products are of immense benefits to the nation and the world at large. An assessment of the performance of Pistia stratiotes as affected by the water soluble fraction of Universal Energy Akwa Ibom crude oil was carried out in Abraka, Delta State, Nigeria in 2023. The five levels of WSF (0, 10, 25, 50, 75 and 100%) were used. Pistia stratiotes thalli were obtained from below the Bridge along River Ethiope and exposed to the different treatments. The results showed a significant reduction (p≤0.05) in all the plant parameters measured (leaf area, plant number, fresh weights, dry weight biomass, relative growth rate and survival percentage) in plants grown in the WSF media when compared to their counterparts exposed to the control plots. Against the normal healthy plants observed in the control, signs of dieback, yellowness of leaves, suppress growth and deaths were observed in plants subjected to the water soluble fraction of the crude oil and the effects were WSF dose dependent. There was gradual reduction in the shoot biomass of the plant with increasing level of WSF. There is a gradual increase in the root biomass although there was a total root growth. The study has established that the performance of Pistia stratiotes was significantly affected by the presence of water soluble fraction of crude oil. The study has great implication on water biology and food security. Continuous environmental monitoring and remediation exercises should be conducted in oil producing communities by the government.