Evaluation of B. subtilis SPB1 biosurfactants' potency for diesel-contaminated soil washing: optimization of oil desorption using Taguchi design

Inès Mnif, Rihab Sahnoun, Semia Ellouze-Chaabouni, Dhouha Ghribi
Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 2014, 21 (2): 851-61
Low solubility of certain hydrophobic soil contaminants limits remediation process. Surface-active compounds can improve the solubility and removal of hydrophobic compounds from contaminated soils and, consequently, their biodegradation. Hence, this paper aims to study desorption efficiency of oil from soil of SPB1 lipopeptide biosurfactant. The effect of different physicochemical parameters on desorption potency was assessed. Taguchi experimental design method was applied in order to enhance the desorption capacity and establish the best washing parameters. Mobilization potency was compared to those of chemical surfactants under the newly defined conditions. Better desorption capacity was obtained using 0.1% biosurfacatnt solution and the mobilization potency shows great tolerance to acidic and alkaline pH values and salinity. Results show an optimum value of oil removal from diesel-contaminated soil of about 87%. The optimum washing conditions for surfactant solution volume, biosurfactant concentration, agitation speed, temperature, and time were found to be 12 ml/g of soil, 0.1% biosurfactant, 200 rpm, 30 °C, and 24 h, respectively. The obtained results were compared to those of SDS and Tween 80 at the optimal conditions described above, and the study reveals an effectiveness of SPB1 biosurfactant comparable to the reported chemical emulsifiers. (1) The obtained findings suggest (a) the competence of Bacillus subtilis biosurfactant in promoting diesel desorption from soil towards chemical surfactants and (b) the applicability of this method in decontaminating crude oil-contaminated soil and, therefore, improving bioavailability of hydrophobic compounds. (2) The obtained findings also suggest the adequacy of Taguchi design in promoting process efficiency. Our findings suggest that preoptimized desorption process using microbial-derived emulsifier can contribute significantly to enhancement of hydrophobic pollutants' bioavailability. This study can be complemented with the investigation of potential role in improving the biodegradation of the diesel adsorbed to the soil.

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