Author(s): Schaller KD, Fox SL, Bruhn DF, Noah KS, Bala GA
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Abstract Surfactin produced by Bacillus subtilis (ATCC 21332) was used to examine the effect of altering salt concentration, pH, and temperature on surfactin activity (as measured by reductions in surface tension). These parameters are some of the conditions that define oil reservoir characteristics and can affect the application of surfactants. The Biotechnology for Oilfield Operations research program at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) has successfully produced surfactin from potato process effluents for possible use as an economical alternative to chemical surfactants for improved oil recovery. Surfactants enhance the recovery of oil through a reduction of the interfacial tension between the oil and water interfaces, or by mediating changes in the wettability index of the system. We investigated changes in surfactin activity under a range of conditions by measuring surface tension. Surface tension was determined using video image analysis of inverted pendant drops. Experimental variables included NaCl (0-10\%), pH (3.0-10.0), and temperature (21-70 degrees C). Each of these parameters, as well as selected combinations, resulted in discrete changes in surfactin activity. It is therefore important to consider the exploration of the studied surfactin as an enhanced oil recovery agent.
This article was published in Appl Biochem Biotechnol
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology