Microbial Surfactants and Their Use in Soil Remediation
In the remediation of organic and inorganic pollutants in soil, a number of physical, chemical and biological treatments are utilised, including excavation and removal, thermal evaporation, flushing, vapour extraction and bioremediation. Many environmental pollutants, particularly organics such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and many petroleum hydrocarbons and biocides, are hydrophobic with low solubility and dissolution in aqueous media. The role of biosurfactants in solubilisation and enhancement of bioremediation may not be realized in soils if there is reliance of surfactant production in situ. Many metals are toxic to soil microorganisms and are often associated with organic pollutions. In order to carry out bioremediation of the latter, the metal toxicity requires attenuation. Most studies utilizing biosurfactants in soil pollutant removal and remediation have used laboratory scale systems.