Rhamnolipid production by a novel thermophilic hydrocarbon-degrading Pseudomonas aeruginosa AP02-1

Amedea Perfumo, Ibrahim Banat, Francesco Canganella, Roger Marchant

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124 Citations (Scopus)


Thermophilic bacterial cultures were isolated from a hot spring environment on hydrocarbon containing mineral salts media. One strain identified as Pseudomonas aeruginosa AP02-1 was tested for the ability to utilize a range of hydrocarbons both n-alkanes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as sole carbon source. Strain AP02-1 had an optimum growth temperature of 45 degrees C and degraded 99% of crude oil 1% (v/v) and diesel oil 2% (v/v) when added to a basal mineral medium within 7 days of incubation. Surface activity measurements indicated that biosurfactants, mainly glycolipid in nature, were produced during the microbial growth on hydrocarbons as well as on both water-soluble and insoluble substrates. Mass spectrometry analysis showed different types of rhamnolipid production depending on the carbon substrate and culture conditions. Grown on glycerol, P. aeruginosa AP02-1 produced a mixture of ten rhamnolipid homologues, of which Rha-Rha-C-10-C-10 and Rha-C-10-C-10 were predominant. Rhamnolipid-containing culture broths reduced the surface tension to approximate to 28 mN and gave stable emulsions with a number of hydrocarbons and remained effective after sterilization. Microscopic observations of the emulsions suggested that hydrophobic cells acted as emulsion-stabilizing agents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-138
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Aug 2006


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