Biosurfactant-enhanced removal of phenanthrene from soil

WH Noordman*, W Ji, ML Brusseau, DB Janssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


The possibility to use rhamnolipid biosurfactants for enhancing the elution of phenanthrene from a soil column was tested. Removal of 90% of the phenanthrene was achieved in a 3.6-fold shorter time period when the feed solution contained 500 mg/L rhamnolipid compared to treatment without rhamnolipid. The rate of phenanthrene removal in the presence of this biosurfactant was still limited by desorption kinetics. After removal of the major part of the pollution with rhamnolipids, the feed solution was replaced by a solution containing no rhamnolipids and phenanthrene effluent concentrations rapidly dropped to 0.02 mg/L. This occurred within a total of 200 pore volumes treatment. In a blank treatment where no rhamnolipids were used, this effluent concentration was reached only after 800 pore volumes. These results show that rhamnolipids can be used to enhance removal of the major portion of the sorbed phenanthrene. Subsequently, the risk of contaminant distribution can be diminished because the effluent phenanthrene concentration is lowered when rhamnolipid is eluted from the column. In the light of risk-based cleanup, this might be a useful application of (bio)surfactants.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIN SITU AND ON-SITE BIOREMEDIATION, VOL 2
Place of PublicationCOLUMBUS
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)1-57477-031-4
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Event4th International In Situ and On-Site Bioremediation Symposium - , Lao People's Democratic Republic
Duration: 28-Apr-19971-May-1997

Publication series



Other4th International In Situ and On-Site Bioremediation Symposium
Country/TerritoryLao People's Democratic Republic

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