Abstract Petroleum hydrocarbons are well known by their high toxicity and recalcitrant properties. Their increasing utilization around worldwide led to environmental contamination. Phytoremediation using plant-associated microbe is an interesting approach for petroleum degradation and actinobacteria have a great potential for that. For this purpose, our study aimed to isolate, characterize, and assess the ability of endophytic actinobacteria to degrade crude petroleum, as well as to produce plant growth promoting traits. Seventeen endophytic actinobacteria were isolated from roots of plants grown naturally in sandy contaminated soil. Among them, six isolates were selected on the basis of their tolerance to petroleum on solid minimal medium and characterized by 16S rDNA gene sequencing. All petroleum-tolerant isolates belonged to the Streptomyces genus. Determination by crude oil degradation by gas chromatorgraph-flame ionization detector revealed that five strains could use petroleum as sole carbon and energy source and the petroleum removal achieved up to 98% after 7 days of incubation. These isolates displayed an important role in the degradation of the n-alkanes (C6-C30), aromatic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. All strains showed a wide range of plant growth promoting features such as siderophores, phosphate solubilization, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase, nitrogen fixation and indole-3-acetic acid production as well as biosurfactant production. This is the first study highlighting the petroleum degradation ability and plant growth promoting attributes of endophytic Streptomyces. The finding suggests that the endophytic actinobacteria isolated are promising candidates for improving phytoremediation efficiency of petroleum contaminated soil. Highlights First study describing petroleum biodegradation by endophytic Streptomyces. Endophytic Streptomyces were isolated from plants growing in petroleum polluted soil. Over 98% of petroleum was removed by Streptomyces Hlh9. Crude oil-degrading actinobacteria showed multiple plant growth promotion features. Petroleum degrading Streptomyces seem to be good candidates for phytoremediation.
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