Emulsification potential of a newly isolated biosurfactant-producing bacterium, Rhodococcus sp. strain TA6

Mahmoud Shavandi, Ghasemali Mohebali, Azam Haddadi, Heidar Shakarami, Ashrafossadat Nuhi
Colloids and Surfaces. B, Biointerfaces 2011 February 1, 82 (2): 477-82
An indigenous biosurfactant producing bacterium, Rhodococcus sp. strain TA6 was isolated from Iranian oil contaminated soil using an efficient enrichment and screening method. During growth on sucrose and several hydrocarbon substrates as sole carbon source, the bacterium could produce biosurfactants. As a result of biosurfactant synthesis, the surface tension of the growth medium was reduced from 68mNm(-1) to values below 30mNm(-1). The biosurfactant was capable of forming stable emulsions with various hydrocarbons ranging from pentane to light motor oil. Preliminary chemical characterization revealed that the TA6 biosurfactant consisted of extracellular lipids and glycolipids. The biosurfactant was stable during exposure to high salinity (10% NaCl), elevated temperatures (120°C for 15min) and within a wide pH range (4.0-10.0). The culture broth was effective in recovering up to 70% of the residual oil from oil-saturated sand packs which indicates the potential value of the biosurfactant in enhanced oil recovery.

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