Effects of biosurfactants produced by Candida antarctica on the biodegradation of petroleum compounds
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The effects of biosurfactants on the biodegradation of petroleum compounds were investigated. Candida antarctica T-34 could produce extracellular biosurfactant mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs) when it was cultured in vegetable oil. In addition, in our previous study, it was found that this strain could also produce a new type of biosurfactant while it grew on n-undecane (C11H24), and the biosurfactant was named as BS-UC. In flask culture of Candida antarctica, the addition of BS-UC could improve the biodegradation rate of some n-alkanes (e.g. 90.2% for n-decane, 90.2% for n-undecane, 89.0% for dodecane), a mixture of n-alkanes (82.3%) and kerosene (72.5%). By comparing the effects of the biosurfactants BS-UC and MEL and chemical surfactants on the biodegradation of crude oil, it was found that biosurfactants could be used to enhance the degradation of petroleum compounds instead of chemical surfactants. In a laboratory scale immobilized bioreactor, the addition of biosurfactant improved not only the emulsification of kerosene in simulated wastewater but also its biodegradation rate. The highest degradation rate of kerosene by addition of MEL and BS-UC reached 87 and 90% at 15 h, respectively. The results showed that the biosurfactant BS-UC was highly promising for work on biodegradation of hydrophobic contaminants.
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