Biosurfactant-and-bioemulsifier produced by a promising Cunninghamella echinulata isolated from Caatinga soil in the northeast of Brazil.

International journal of molecular sciences

PubMedID: 25257520

Andrade Silva NR, Luna MA, Santiago AL, Franco LO, Silva GK, de Souza PM, Okada K, Albuquerque CD, da Silva CA, Campos-Takaki GM. Biosurfactant-and-bioemulsifier produced by a promising Cunninghamella echinulata isolated from Caatinga soil in the northeast of Brazil. Int J Mol Sci. 2014;15(9):15377-95.
A Mucoralean fungus was isolated from Caatinga soil of Pernambuco, Northeast of Brazil, and was identified as Cunninghamella echinulata by morphological, physiological, and biochemical tests. This strain was evaluated for biosurfactant/bioemulsifier production using soybean oil waste (SOW) and corn steep liquor (CSL) as substrates, added to basic saline solution, by measuring surface tension and emulsifier index and activity. The best results showed the surface water tension was reduced from 72 to 36 mN/m, and an emulsification index (E24) of 80% was obtained using engine oil and burnt engine oil, respectively. A new molecule of biosurfactant showed an anionic charge and a polymeric chemical composition consisting of lipids (40. 0% w/w), carbohydrates (35. 2% w/w) and protein (20. 3% w/w). In addition, the biosurfactant solution (1%) demonstrated its ability for an oil displacement area (ODA) of 37. 36 cm², which is quite similar to that for Triton X-100 (38. 46 cm²). The stability of the reduction in the surface water tension as well as of the emulsifier index proved to be stable over a wide range of temperatures, in pH, and in salt concentration (4%-6% w/v). The biosurfactant showed an ability to reduce and increase the viscosity of hydrophobic substrates and their molecules, suggesting that it is a suitable candidate for mediated enhanced oil recovery. At the same time, these studies indicate that renewable, relatively inexpensive and easily available resources can be used for important biotechnological processes.