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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2002 Jun;13(3):249-52.

Biosurfactants and oil bioremediation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel 69978. eliora@post.tau.ac.il


Oil pollution is an environmental problem of increasing importance. Hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms, adapted to grow and thrive in oil-containing environments, have an important role in the biological treatment of this pollution. One of the limiting factors in this process is the bioavailability of many fractions of the oil. The hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms produce biosurfactants of diverse chemical nature and molecular size. These surface-active materials increase the surface area of hydrophobic water-insoluble substrates and increase their bioavailability, thereby enhancing the growth of bacteria and the rate of bioremediation.

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