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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Enhanced crude oil depletion by constructed bacterial consortium comprising bioemulsifier producer and petroleum hydrocarbon degraders.


The aim of this work was to study the production of bioemulsifier by Rhodococcus erythropolis OSDS1, and the improvement of crude oil depletion efficiency using a consortium of petroleum hydrocarbon degraders and OSDS1. The results showed that R. erythropolis OSDS1 produced highly stable bioemulsifier under various salinity (0-35 g/L NaCl) and pH (5.0-9.0) conditions; more than 90% of the initial emulsification activity was retained after 168 h. Emulsification capacity of the bioemulsifier on different petroleum hydrocarbons was diesel > mineral oil/crude oil > gasoline. A mixed bacterial consortium combining OSDS1 and four other petroleum hydrocarbon degraders was constructed. GC-MS results revealed that the constructed consortium achieved 85.26% depletion efficiency of crude oil in 15 days, which was significantly higher than that of individual strains. During the process, alkane hydroxylase gene (alkB) was successfully amplified from the consortium, confirming presence of crude oil degrading enzymes.

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