Microbial Ecology

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 588–600 | Cite as

Effects of Rhamnolipids from Pseudomonas aeruginosa DS10-129 on Luminescent Bacteria: Toxicity and Modulation of Cadmium Bioavailability

  • Olesja Bondarenko
  • Pattanathu K. S. M. Rahman
  • Thahira J. Rahman
  • Anne Kahru
  • Angela IvaskEmail author
Physiology and Biotechnology


In this study, the mixture of mono- and di-rhamnolipids produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa DS10-129 was characterized for its toxicity and modulatory effects on Cd availability to different bacteria. Gram-negative naturally bioluminescent Vibrio fischeri and recombinant bioluminescent Pseudomonas fluorescens, P. aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis were used as model organisms. Rhamnolipids reduced the bioluminescence of these bacteria in less than a second of exposure even in relatively low concentrations (30-min EC50 45–167 mg l−1). Toxicity of Cd to Gram-negative bacteria (30-min EC50 values 0.16 mg l−1 for E. coli, 0.96 mg l−1 for P. fluorescens, and 4.4 mg l−1 for V. fischeri) was remarkably (up to 10-fold) reduced in the presence of 50 mg l−1 rhamnolipids. Interestingly, the toxicity of Cd to Gram-positive B. subtilis (30-min EC50 value 0.49 mg l−1) was not affected by rhamnolipids. Rhamnolipids had an effect on desorption of Cd from soil: 40 mg l−1 rhamnolipids increased the water-extracted fraction of Cd twice compared with untreated control. However, this additionally desorbed fraction of Cd remained bound with rhamnolipids and was not available to bacteria. Hence, in carefully chosen concentrations (still effectively complexing heavy metals but not yet toxic to soil bacteria), rhamnolipids could be applied in remediation of polluted areas.


Water Suspension Rhamnolipids Cell Surface Hydrophobicity Fluoroskan Ascent Bioluminescence Inhibition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was financially supported by the Estonian Ministry of Science and Education (targeted funding project SF0690063s08), Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation (grant no 2008416), Estonian Science Foundation (grant no 6974), and European Social Fund. We thank Prof. Henri-Charles Dubourguier for fruitful discussions, Thomas Leydier for help in chemical analysis of the samples, Sirje Vija for her advice in thin-layer chromatography, and Martin Romantshuk for P. fluorescens OS8 strain. PKSM Rahman thanks the Teesside University-sponsored Research and Enterprise Development Fund and Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) for their support towards the completion of this project and the Bioscience for Business-Knowledge Transfer Network (BfB-KTN) for the award of “From Renewable Platform Chemicals to Value Added Products” (FROPTOP) fund to explore the biocatalytic study of biosurfactant production from renewable resources.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olesja Bondarenko
    • 1
  • Pattanathu K. S. M. Rahman
    • 2
  • Thahira J. Rahman
    • 3
  • Anne Kahru
    • 1
  • Angela Ivask
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular GeneticsNational Institute of Chemical Physics and BiophysicsTallinnEstonia
  2. 2.Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering Group, School of Science and TechnologyTeesside UniversityMiddlesbroughUK
  3. 3.Institute of Human GeneticsNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  4. 4.TallinnEstonia

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