Assessing Bacillus subtilis biosurfactant effects on the biodegradation of petroleum products

Renato Nallin Montagnolli, Paulo Renato Matos Lopes, Ederio Dino Bidoia
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2015, 187 (1): 4116
Microbial pollutant removal capabilities can be determined and exploited to accomplish bioremediation of hydrocarbon-polluted environments. Thus, increasing knowledge on environmental behavior of different petroleum products can lead to better bioremediation strategies. Biodegradation can be enhanced by adding biosurfactants to hydrocarbon-degrading microorganism consortia. This work aimed to improve petroleum products biodegradation by using a biosurfactant produced by Bacillus subtilis. The produced biosurfactant was added to biodegradation assays containing crude oil, diesel, and kerosene. Biodegradation was monitored by a respirometric technique capable of evaluating CO₂ production in an aerobic simulated wastewater environment. The biosurfactant yielded optimal surface tension reduction (30.9 mN m(-1)) and emulsification results (46.90% with kerosene). Biodegradation successfully occurred and different profiles were observed for each substance. Precise mathematical modeling of biosurfactant effects on petroleum degradation profile was designed, hence allowing long-term kinetics prediction. Assays containing biosurfactant yielded a higher overall CO₂ output. Higher emulsification and an enhanced CO2 production dataset on assays containing biosurfactants was observed, especially in crude oil and kerosene.

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