Experimental investigations of behaviour of biosurfactants in brine solutions relevant to hydrocarbon reservoirs

Tinuola Udoh, Jan Vinogradov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In this study, we investigated the behaviour of rhamnolipid and Greenzyme in brine solutions relevant to hydrocarbon reservoir. Prior to this work, several studies only reported the behaviour of the biosurfactants dissolved in sodium chloride solutions of varied salinity. The results of this study are relevant to the application of the biosurfactants in enhanced oil recovery, during which the compounds are injected into reservoir saturated with formation water, typically of high salinity and complex composition. Surface tension and conductivity methods were used to determine the critical micelle concentrations of the biosurfactants, Gibbs surface excess concentrations and standard free energy at water-air interface. The results show that rhamnolipid and Greenzyme could reduce the surface tension of water from 72.1 ± 0.2 mN/m to 34.7 ± 0.4 mN/m and 47.1 ± 0.1 mN/m respectively. They were also found to be stable in high salinity and high temperature with rhamnolipid being sensitive to brine salinity, composition and pH while Greenzyme showed tolerance for high salinity. Furthermore, the Gibbs standard free energy of micellisation shows that rhamnolipid and Greenzyme have the tendency to spontaneously form micelles with rhamnolipid showing more surface adsorption. However from maximal Gibbs surface excess concentration calculations, Greenzyme monomers tend to favour aggregation more than that of rhamnolipid.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalColloids and Interfaces
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Biosurfactant
  • Greenzyme
  • Micellisation
  • Rhamnolipid
  • Solubility
  • Stability
  • Surface tension


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