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Biosurfactant production and use in oil tank clean-up

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A proprietary bacterial strain (Pet 1006) produced biosurfactants when grown on both glucose and an immiscible hydrocarbon as carbon sources. Pilot-plant-scale (1500 I) production gave, on repeated batch runs, 2 tonnes of culture broth containing active biosurfactant. The product was used as a substitute for chemical surfactants in a clean-up demonstration test carried out by Cargo Fleet Chemical Company Ltd. (UK) on an oil storage tank belonging to Kuwait Oil Company, Kuwait. The clean-up was successful in removing the sludge from the tank bottom, and it also allowed the recovery of more than 90% of the hydrocarbon trapped in the sludge. The recovered hydrocarbon had excellent properties and could be sold after being blended with fresh crude.

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Additional information

I.M. Banat is at 5, Upper Galliagh Road, Londonderry, Northern Ireland BT48 8LW, UK but was at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research at the time this paper was written. The remaining authors are with the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Biotechnology Department, P.O. Box 24885, 13109, Safat, Kuwait. I.M. Banat is the corresponding author.

In view of the annexation of Kuwait by Iraq in August 1990, this paper has been accepted without return to the author for attention to minor details and for approval of certain editorial changes that have been made. The Editor-in-Chief therefore assumes full responsibility for any errors or omissions.

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Banat, I.M., Samarah, N., Murad, M. et al. Biosurfactant production and use in oil tank clean-up. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 7, 80–88 (1991).

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