The emulsifying effect of biosurfactants produced by food spoilage organisms in Nigeria

Christianah O. Ogunmola, Olusimbo O. Aboaba


Food spoilage organisms were isolated using standard procedures on Nutrient Agar, Cetrimide Agar and Pseudomonas Agar Base (supplemented with CFC). The samples were categorized as animal products (raw fish, egg, raw chicken, corned beef, pasteurized milk) and plant products (vegetable salad, water leaf (Talinium triangulare), boiled rice, tomatoes and pumpkin leaf (Teifairia occidentalis).They were characterised as Pseudomonas putida, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas stutzeri, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Serratia rubidaea, Corynebacterium pilosum, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus mycoides, Bacillus laterosporus, Bacillus laterosporus, Serratia marcescens, Bacillus cereus, Bacillus macerans, Alcaligenes faecalis and Alcaligenes eutrophus. Preliminary screening for biosurfactant production was done using red blood haemolysis test and confirmed by slide test, drop collapse and oil spreading assay. The biosurfactant produced was purified using acetone and the composition determined initially using Molisch’s test, thin layer chromatography and gas chromatography mass spectrometry. The components were found to be ethanol, amino acids, butoxyacetic acid, hexadecanoic acid, oleic acid, lauryl peroxide, octadecanoic acid and phthalic acid. The producing organisms grew readily on several hydrocarbons such as crude oil, diesel oil and aviation fuel when used as sole carbon sources.  The purified biosurfactants produced were able to cause emulsification of kerosene (19.71-27.14%) as well as vegetable oil (16.91-28.12%) based on the emulsification index. This result suggests that the isolates can be an asset and further work can exploit their optimal potential in industries.


biosurfactants; hydrocarbon; emulsification; heteropolymers

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