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Emulsification of hydrocarbons by subsurface bacteria

Journal of Industrial Microbiology

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Abstract

Biosurfactants have potential for use in enhancement of in situ biorestoration by increasing the bioavailability of contaminants. Microorganisms isolated from biostimulated, contaminated and uncontaminated zones at the site of an aviation fuel spill and hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms isolated from sites contaminated with unleaded gasoline were examined for their abilities to emulsify petroleum hydrocarbons. Emulsifying ability was quantified by a method involving agitation and visual inspection. Biostimulated-zone microbes and hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms were the best emulsifiers as compared to contaminated and uncontaminated zone microbes. Biostimulation (nutrient and oxygen addition) may have been the dominant factor which selected for and encouraged growth of emulsifiers; exposure to hydrocarbon was also important. Biostimulated microorganisms were better emulsifiers of aviation fuel (the contaminant hydrocarbon) than of heavier hydrocarbon to which they were not previously exposed. By measuring surface tension changes of culture broths, 11 out of 41 emulsifiers tested were identified as possible biosurfactant producers and two isolates produced large surface tension reductions indicating the high probability of biosurfactant production.Biosurfactants have potential for use in enhancement of in situ biorestoration by increasing the bioavailability of contaminants. Microorganisms isolated from biostimulated, contaminated and uncontaminated zones at the site of an aviation fuel spill and hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms isolated from sites contaminated with unleaded gasoline were examined for their abilities to emulsify petroleum hydrocarbons. Emulsifying ability was quantified by a method involving agitation and visual inspection. Biostimulated-zone microbes and hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms were the best emulsifiers as compared to contaminated and uncontaminated zone microbes. Biostimulation (nutrient and oxygen addition) may have been the dominant factor which selected for and encouraged growth of emulsifiers; exposure to hydrocarbon was also important. Biostimulated microorganisms were better emulsifiers of aviation fuel (the contaminant hydrocarbon) than of heavier hydrocarbon to which they were not previously exposed. By measuring surface tension changes of culture broths, 11 out of 41 emulsifiers tested were identified as possible biosurfactant producers and two isolates produced large surface tension reductions, indicating a high probability of biosurfactant production.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Emulsification of hydrocarbons by subsurface bacteria
Series title:
Journal of Industrial Microbiology
Volume
8
Issue:
4
Year Published:
1991
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Industrial Microbiology
First page:
237
Last page:
246