Desorption and solubilization of anthracene by a rhamnolipid biosurfactant from Rhodococcus fascians

Chul Hwan Kim, Dong Wan Lee, Young Mok Heo, Hanbyul Lee, Yeonjae Yoo, Gyu Hyeok Kim, Jae Jin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The rhamnolipid biosurfactant-producing bacterium, strain SDRB-G7, was isolated from the sediment of Sindu-ri beach and identified as Rhodococcus fascians based on a phylogenetic analysis. Optimal activity, with the highest yield (2.441 g/L) and surface tension-reducing activity (24.38 mN/m), was observed when the cells were grown on olive oil as their sole source of carbon at pH 8.0. The rhamnolipid biosurfactant showed environmental stability at a variety of NaCl concentrations (2-20%) and pH values (2-12) even under acidic conditions. Of the initial anthracene, 66% was solubilized by 100% crude biosurfactant. Furthermore, 100% crude biosurfactant desorbed 81% of the anthracene in sediment into the aqueous phase. These results suggest that the rhamnolipid biosurfactant produced from R. fascians SDRB-G7 is a promising candidate for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) removal from the sediment and can be an effective agent for processes that bioremediate PAHs such as surfactant-enhanced remediation. Practitioner points: Biosurfactants can accelerate desorption of PAHs and improve their solubility. BS-producing R. fascians SDRB-G7 was selected by screening of biochemical tests. Solubility of anthracene was enhanced by rhamnolipid produced by strain SDRB-G7. Microbial surfactant is a promising alternative for bioremediation of PAH-polluted sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-747
Number of pages9
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug


  • PAHs
  • biosurfactant-producing bacteria
  • desorption
  • marine sediment
  • rhamnolipid
  • solubilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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