Author(s): Kuyukina MS, Ivshina IB, Makarov SO, Litvinenko LV, Cunningham CJ,
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Abstract Microbially produced biosurfactants were studied to enhance crude oil desorption and mobilization in model soil column systems. The ability of biosurfactants from Rhodococcus ruber to remove the oil from the soil core was 1.4-2.3 times greater than that of a synthetic surfactant of suitable properties, Tween 60. Biosurfactant-enhanced oil mobilization was temperature-related, and it was slower at 15 degrees C than at 22-28 degrees C. Mathematical modelling using a one-dimensional filtration model was applied to simulate the process of oil penetration through a soil column in the presence of (bio)surfactants. A strong positive correlation (R(2)=0.99) was found between surfactant penetration through oil-contaminated soil and oil removal activity. Biosurfactant was less adsorbed to soil components than synthetic surfactant, thus rapidly penetrating through the soil column and effectively removing 65-82\% of crude oil. Chemical analysis showed that crude oil removed by biosurfactant contained a lower proportion of high-molecular-weight paraffins and asphaltenes, the most nonbiodegradable compounds, compared to initial oil composition. This result suggests that oil mobilized by biosurfactants could be easily biodegraded by soil bacteria. Rhodococcus biosurfactants can be used for in situ remediation of oil-contaminated soils.
This article was published in Environ Int
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation