Biosurfactant production by Bacillus subtilis B30 and its application in enhancing oil recovery

Yahya Al-Wahaibi*, Sanket Joshi, Saif Al-Bahry, Abdulkadir Elshafie, Ali Al-Bemani, Biji Shibulal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Citations (Scopus)


The fermentative production of biosurfactants by Bacillus subtilis strain B30 and the evaluation of biosurfactant based enhanced oil recovery using core-flood were investigated. Different carbon sources (glucose, sucrose, starch, date molasses, cane molasses) were tested to determine the optimal biosurfactant production. The isolate B30 produced a biosurfactant that could reduce the surface tension and interfacial tension to 26.63. ±. 0.45. mN/m and 3.79. ±. 0.27. mN/m, respectively in less than 12. h in both glucose or date molasses based media. A crude biosurfactant concentration of 0.3-0.5. g/l and critical micelle dilution (CMD) values of 1:8 were observed. The biosurfactants gave stable emulsions with wide range of hydrocarbons including light and heavy crude oil. The biosurfactants were partially purified and identified as a mixture of lipopeptides similar to surfactin, using high performance thin layer chromatography and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The biosurfactants were stable over wide range of pH, salinity and temperatures. The crude biosurfactant preparation enhanced light oil recovery by 17-26% and heavy oil recovery by 31% in core-flood studies. The results are indicative of the potential of the strain for the development of ex situ microbial enhanced oil recovery processes using glucose or date molasses based minimal media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-333
Number of pages10
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2014


  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Biosurfactant
  • Critical micelle dilution
  • Emulsification index
  • Microbial enhanced oil recovery
  • Surface and interfacial tension reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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