Simultaneous phenanthrene and cadmium removal from contaminated soil by a ligand/biosurfactant solution

Tânia M S Lima, Lorena C Procópio, Felipe D Brandão, André M X Carvalho, Marcos R Tótola, Arnaldo C Borges
Biodegradation 2011, 22 (5): 1007-15
Surfactants and inorganic ligands are pointed as efficient to simultaneous removal of heavy metals and hydrophobic organic pollutants from soil. However, the biosurfactants are potentially less toxic to soil organisms than other chemical agents. Thus, in this study the efficiency of combinations of iodide (I(-)) ligand and surfactants produced by different bacterial species in the simultaneous removal of cadmium (Cd(2+)) and phenanthrene in a Haplustox soil sample was investigated. Four microbial surfactants and the synthetic surfactant Triton X-100 were tested with different concentrations of ligand. Soil samples contaminated with Cd(2+) and phenanthrene underwent consecutive washings with a surfactant/ligand solution. The removal of Cd(2+) increased with increased ligand concentration, particularly in solutions containing biosurfactants produced by the bacterial strains Bacillus subtilis LBBMA155 (lipopeptide) and Flavobacterium sp. LBBMA168 (mixture of flavolipids) and Triton X-100. Maximum Cd(2+) removal efficiency was 99.2% for biosurfactant produced by Arthrobacter oxydans LBBMA 201 (lipopeptide) and 99.2% for biosurfactant produced by Bacillus sp. LBBMA111A (mixed lipopeptide) in the presence of 0.336 mol iodide l(-1), while the maximum efficiency of Triton X-100 removal was 65.0%. The biosurfactant solutions removed from 80 to 88.0% of phenanthrene in soil, and the removal was not influenced by the presence of the ligand. Triton X-100 removed from 73 to 88% of the phenanthrene and, differently from the biosurfactants, iodide influenced the removal efficiency. The results indicate that the use of a single washing agent, called surfactant-ligand, affords simultaneous removal of organic contaminants and heavy metals.

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