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Chemosphere. 2008 Jul;72(9):1229-34. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.05.015. Epub 2008 Jun 18.

Improved bioavailability and biodegradation of a model polyaromatic hydrocarbon by a biosurfactant producing bacterium of marine origin.

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  • 1Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal, India.


Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are organic pollutants mostly derived from the processing and combustion of fossil fuels and cause human health hazards. In the present study a marine biosurfactant producing strain of Bacillus circulans was used to increase the bioavailability and consequent degradation of a model polyaromatic hydrocarbon, anthracene. Although the organism could not utilize anthracene as the sole carbon source, it showed better growth and biosurfactant production in an anthracene supplemented glycerol mineral salts medium (AGlyMSM) compared to a normal glycerol mineral salts medium (GlyMSM). The biosurfactant product showed high degree of emulsification of various hydrocarbons. Analysis by gas chromatography (GC), high performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) showed that the biosurfactant could effectively entrap and solubilize PAH. Thin layer chromatographic analysis showed that anthracene was utilized as a carbon substrate for the production of biosurfactant. Thus organic pollutant anthracene was metabolized and converted to biosurfactants facilitating its own bioremediation.

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