Author(s): Franzetti A, Di Gennaro P, Bestetti G, Lasagni M, Pitea D,
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Abstract The use of surfactants represents a valuable method to enhance the access of the microorganisms to low-soluble and recalcitrant compounds in bioremediation techniques. The choice of surfactants is the first step of feasibility studies for this application. So far, no defined procedures are present in literature to select the most suitable surfactant for the treatment of a specific contaminated site. Furthermore, the characterisation of physico-chemical parameters is important to understand the reason of successes and failures. In this paper a step procedure to select and characterise a commercial surfactant to be used in bioremediation enhancement of hydrocarbon-contaminated media was developed. Among the commercial surfactants, the procedure was applied to alkyl polyethoxylates (Brij family) and sorbitan derivates (Tween family). The selection resulted in the application of Brij 56 and Tween 80 as biodegradation-enhancer in different lab scale systems for remediation of diesel contamination. In liquid systems, Tween 80 greatly increased biodegradation of highly branched and high-molecular weight hydrocarbons, while Brij 56 enhanced degradation of highly branched hydrocarbons. Based on these results, the potential applications and the limitations of these surfactants at full scale level were estimated.
This article was published in J Hazard Mater
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology