Eucalyptus saponin- and sophorolipid-mediated desorption of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from contaminated soil and sediment

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Abstract

The potential for biosurfactant-mediated desorption of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was evaluated using PAH-spiked soil and sediment. PAH desorption behaviors and toxicity of novel saponin biosurfactant extracted from Eucalyptus camaldulensis leaves and sophoro-lipid biosurfactant were investigated. Their PAH desorption efficiencies were compared with rhamnolipid biosurfactant and the industrial-chemical surfactant, Tween 20. Based on the emulsification indices, the salt tolerance of surfactants up to 30 g/L NaCl followed the order of saponin > Tween 20 > sophorolipid > rhamnolipid, while the thermal stability over the range of 15 to 50 °C was in the order of sophorolipid > rhamnolipid > saponin > Tween 20. The saponin biosurfactant emulsion demonstrated the highest stability under a wide range of acidic to basic pHs. PAH extraction percentages of saponin and sophorolipid under the optimized surfactant concentration, volume, and incubation time were 30-50% and 30-70%, respectively. PAH desorption capacities of saponin and sophorolipid were comparable to that of rhamnolipid and Tween 20 for all matrices. Sophorolipid more efficiently desorbed low molecular weight PAHs in soil and sediment compared to the other three surfactants. Microbial respiration was used to determine biosurfactant toxicity to the soil/sediment microbiome and indicated no inhibition of respiration during 60 days of incubation, suggesting that sophorolipid- and saponin-mediated remediation may be sustainable approaches to remove PAHs from contaminated soils and sediments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Oct 2022

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