Bioreactor Rhamnolipid Production Using Palm Oil Agricultural Refinery By-Products

Mohd Nazren Radzuan, James Winterburn, Ibrahim M Banat

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Palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD) and fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) are used by P. aeruginosa PAO1 to produce rhamnolipid biosurfactant. The process of fermentation producing of biosurfactant was structured in a 2 L bioreactor using 2% of PFAD and FAME as carbon sources in minimal medium and with a nitrogen concentration of 1 g L-1. Mass spectrometry results show the crude biosurfactant produced was predominantly monorhamnolipid (Rha-C10-C10) and dirhamnolipid (Rha-Rha-C10-C10) at 503 and 649 m/z value for both substrates. Maximum production of crude rhamnolipid for PFAD was 1.06 g L-1 whereas for FAME it was 2.1 g L-1, with a reduction in surface tension of Tris-HCl pH 8.0 solution to 28 mN m-1 and a critical micelle concentration (CMC) of 26 mg L-1 measured for both products. Furthermore, the 24 h emulsification indexes in kerosene, hexadecane, sunflower oil, and rapeseed oil using 1 g L-1 of crude rhamnolipid were in the range 20–50%. Consequently, PFAD and FAME, by-products from the agricultural refining of palm oil, may result in a product that has a higher added-value, rhamnolipid biosurfactant, in the process of integrated biorefinery.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2037
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number11
Early online date14 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by Geran Putra-IPM, Universiti Putra Malaysia with grant number 9680100.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • biorefinery; rhamnolipid; biosurfactant; fermentation; Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1
  • Biosurfactant
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1
  • Biorefinery
  • Rhamnolipid
  • Fermentation


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