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(a) incubation of marine hydrocarbon degrading – biosurfactant producing bacteria in the presence of nutrients and a heavy petroleum fraction as carbon source; (b) biosurfactant production in Batch Reactor; (c) isolation of biosurfactants by liquid-liquid extraction, solvent evaporation and recycling. The process eliminates the chromatographic separation product cleaning process, both on a laboratory and industrial scale, making the process economically advantageous.
The substrate: a heavy fraction of crude oil (a solid constituted by more than 90% of aromatic compounds) as an “intelligent” carbon source, for the production of a rhamnolipids surfactant mixture. The “smart” carbon source does not dissolve in the aqueous phase when it is degraded by marine microorganisms, so impurities in the process are avoided.
The product is a mixture of biosurfactants consisting of rhamnolipids and low molecular weight glycolipids in liquid or powder form.