Isolation and characterization of biosurfactant/bioemulsifier-producing bacteria from petroleum contaminated sites

S B Batista, A H Mounteer, F R Amorim, M R Tótola
Bioresource Technology 2006, 97 (6): 868-75
Biosurfactant-producing bacteria were isolated from terrestrial and marine samples collected in areas contaminated with crude oil or its byproducts. Isolates were screened for biosurfactant/bioemulsifier production in different carbon sources (glucose, fructose, sucrose and kerosene) using the qualitative drop-collapse test. Glucose produced the highest number of positive results (17 of 185 isolates). All 17 isolates produced emulsions with kerosene and 12 exhibited high emulsion-stabilizing capacity, maintaining 50% of the original emulsion volume for 48 h. Eight of the 17 isolates reduced the growth medium surface tension below 40 mN m(-1) with 5 exhibiting this capacity in cell-free filtrates. Onset of biosurfactant production differed among the isolates, with some initiating synthesis during the exponential growth phase and others after the stationary phase was reached. Increasing temperature from 25 to 35 degrees C accelerated onset of biosurfactant production in only two isolates while pH (6.5-7.6) had no effect in any isolate tested. Isolation from petroleum contaminated sites using the screening protocol presented proved to be a rapid and effective manner to identify bacterial isolates with potential industrial applications.

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