Biosurfactant-Assisted Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Liquid Culture System and Substrate Interactions

<p>A lipopeptide biosurfactant was produced by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain LBP9 isolated from petroleum-contaminated soil. Phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and pyrene were used as model polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to study the effect of the biosurfactant on the biodegradation of mixed and sole substrate PAHs, and examine substrate interactivity effects on their biodegradation in liquid culture. At 400 mg/L amendment of lipopeptide, the solubility of phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and pyrene were increased to 19, 33, and 45 times their aqueous solubility, respectively, and the extent of substrate utilization rate (<i>q</i><sub>max </sub>) of PAHs was enhanced up to three-fold in the sole substrate studies in comparison to the unamended controls. In the ternary PAH mixture at total concentration of 300 mg/L, with equal parts of each PAH, 77%, 57%, and 33% degradation of phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and pyrene were observed, respectively, at 400 mg/L lipopeptide amendment on day 30 of incubation. Whereas in the sole substrate experiments at 300 mg/L concentration of each PAH and the same level of lipopeptide amendment more than 98% fluoranthene and 76% pyrene were degraded and phenanthrene removal was so rapid that at day 4 of incubation more than 80% was degraded. Biosurfactants at optimum amounts enhanced biodegradation of PAHs. Lipopeptide amendments of 200 mg/L and 400 mg/L were found out to be optimum amounts for statistically significant (p < 0.05) biodegradation of the PAHs in the experiments. However, despite biosurfactant-enhanced bioavailability of the PAHs, biodegradation rate was competitively inhibited in the multisubstrate microcosms.</p>