Isolation of thermotolerant, halotolerant, facultative biosurfactant-producing bacteria

H Ghojavand, F Vahabzadeh, M Mehranian, M Radmehr, Kh A Shahraki, F Zolfagharian, M A Emadi, E Roayaei
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 2008, 80 (6): 1073-85
Several facultative bacterial strains tolerant to high temperature and salinity were isolated from the oil reservoir brines of an Iranian oil field (Masjed-I Soleyman). Some of these isolates were able to grow up to 60 degrees C and at high concentration of NaCl (15% w/v). One of the isolates grew at 40 degrees C, while it was able to grow at 15% w/v NaCl. Tolerances to NaCl levels decreased as the growth temperatures were increased. Surfactant production ability was detected in some of these isolates. The use of biosurfactant is considered as an effective mechanism in microbial-enhanced oil recovery processes detected in some of these isolates. The surfactant producers were able to grow at high temperatures and salinities to about 55 degrees C and 10% w/v, respectively. These isolates exhibited morphological and physiological characteristics of the Bacillus genus. The partial sequencing of the 16S ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid gene of the selected isolates was assigned them to Bacillus subtilis group. The biosurfactant produced by these isolates caused a substantial decrease in the surface tension of the culture media to 26.7 mN/m. By the use of thin-layer chromatography technique, the presence of the three compounds was detected in the tested biosurfactant. Infrared spectroscopy and (1)H nuclear magnetic resonance analysis were used, and the partial structural characterization of the biosurfactant mixture of the three compounds was found to be lipopeptidic in nature. The possibility of use of the selected bacterial strains reported, in the present study, in different sectors of the petroleum industry has been addressed.

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