Adsorption-desorption process using wood-based activated carbon for recovery of biosurfactant from fermented distillery wastewater.
ABSTRACT Methods used for biosurfactant recovery include solvent extraction, precipitation, crystallization, centrifugation and foam fractionation. These methods cannot be used when distillery wastewater (DW) is used as the nutrient medium for biosurfactant production by Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain BS2, because recovery of biosurfactant by any of these methods imparts color to the biosurfactant. The biosurfactant has a nonaesthetic appearance with lowered surface active properties. These methods cannot be used for continuous recovery of biosurfactant during cultivation. Hence, a new downstream technique for biosurfactant recovery from fermented DW comprised of adsorption-desorption processes using wood-based activated carbon (WAC) was developed. This study involves batch experiments to standardize the factors affecting the rate of biosurfactant adsorption onto WAC. WAC was the most efficient adsorbent among various ones tested (i.e., silica gel, activated alumina and zeolite). The WAC (1% w v(-1)), equilibrium time (90 min), pH range of 5-10 and temperature of 40 degrees C were optimum to achieve 99.5% adsorption efficiency. Adsorption kinetics and intraparticle diffusion studies revealed the involvement of both boundary layer diffusion and intraparticle diffusion. The Langmuir adsorption isotherm of WAC indicated the formation of a monolayer coverage of the biosurfactant over a homogeneous carbon surface, while the Freundlich isotherm showed high adsorption at strong solute concentrations and low adsorption at dilute solute concentrations. WAC concentration of 4% w v(-1) facilitated complete removal of the biosurfactant from collapsed foam (contained 5-fold higher concentration of biosurfactant than was present in fermented DW). Biosurfactant adsorption was of chemisorption type. Acetone (polar solvent) was a specific viable eluant screened among various ones tested because it selectively facilitated maximum recovery, i.e., 89% biosurfactant from WAC. By acetone treatment, complete regeneration of WAC was feasible and WAC can be reused for biosurfactant recovery up to 3 cycles. The recovered biosurfactant showed improved surface-active property (i.e., much lower critical micelle concentration value of 0.013 verses 0.028 mg mL(-1) for biosurfactant recovered by classical methods). The reuse potential of WAC was assessed and results suggest that the carbon can be reused for three consecutive cycles for biosurfactant adsorption from fermented wastewater without any decrease in adsorption efficiency. Thus, this process forms a basis for continuous recovery of biosurfactant from fermented DW and concentrated foam. This process reduces the use of high cost solvent, avoids end product inhibition and minimizes product degradation.