Stable bioemulsifiers are produced by Acinetobacter bouvetii UAM25 growing in different carbon sources

  • Nestor D. Ortega-de la Rosa
  • Jose L. Vázquez-Vázquez
  • Sergio Huerta-Ochoa
  • Miquel Gimeno
  • Mariano Gutiérrez-Rojas
Research Paper


Acinetobacter species are identified as producing surface-active and emulsifying molecules known as bioemulsifiers. Production, characterization and stability of bioemulsifiers produced by Acinetobacter bouvetii UAM25 were studied. A. bouvetii UAM25 grew in three different carbon and energy sources: ethanol, a glycerol–hexadecane mixture and waste cooking oil in an airlift bioreactor, showing that bioemulsifier production was growth associated. The three purified bioemulsifiers were lipo-heteropolysaccharides of high molecular weight (4866 ± 533 and 462 ± 101 kDa). The best carbon source and energy for bioemulsifier production was wasted cooking oil, with a highest emulsifying capacity (76.2 ± 3.5 EU mg−1) as compared with ethanol (46.6 ± 7.1 EU mg−1) and the glycerol–hexadecane mixture (49.5 ± 4.2 EU mg−1). The three bioemulsifiers in our study displayed similar macromolecular structures, regardless of the nature (hydrophobic or hydrophilic) of the carbon and energy source. Bioemulsifiers did not decrease surface tension, but the emulsifying capacity of all of them was retained under extreme variation in salinity (0–50 g NaCl L−1), pH (3–10) and temperature (25–121 °C), indicative of remarkable stability. These findings contribute to understanding of the relationship between: production, physical properties, chemical composition and stability of bioemulsifiers for their potential applications in biotechnology, such as bioremediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soil and water.


Bioemulsifier Acinetobacter bouvetii Lipo-heteropolysaccharide Airlift bioreactor 



This study was conducted with financial support (Scholarship nos. 266,016 and 321,085) from Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología and partial support from Petróleos Mexicanos-Refinación.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study did not involve experiments with human participants or experiments using animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de BiotecnologíaUniversidad Autónoma Metropolitana-IztapalapaCiudad de MexicoMexico
  2. 2.Departamento de Alimentos y Biotecnología, Facultad de QuímicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad UniversitariaCiudad de MexicoMexico

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