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The present feature describes for the first time the application of spores from Aspergillus sp. IMPMS7 to break out crude oil-in-water emulsions (O/W). The fungal spores were isolated from marine sediments polluted with petroleum hydrocarbons. The spores exhibited the ability to destabilize different O/W emulsions prepared with medium, heavy or extra-heavy Mexican crude oils with specific gravities between 10.1 and 21.2°API. The isolated fungal spores showed a high hydrophobic power of 89.3 ± 1.9% and with 2 g of spores per liter of emulsion, the half-life for emulsion destabilization was roughly 3.5 and 0.7 h for extra-heavy and medium crude oil, respectively. Then, the kinetics of water separation and the breaking of the O/W emulsion prepared with heavy oil through a spectrofluorometric technique were studied. A decrease in the fluorescence ratio at 339 and 326 nm (I339/I326) was observed in emulsions treated with spores, which is similar to previously reported results using chemical demulsifiers.


Alba Adriana Vallejo-Cardona, Rafael Martínez-Palou, Benjamín Chávez-Gómez, Graciela García-Caloca, Jairo Guerra-Camacho, Ricardo Cerón-Camacho, Jesús Reyes-Ávila, James Robert Karamath, Jorge Aburto. Demulsification of crude oil-in-water emulsions by means of fungal spores. PloS one. 2017;12(2):e0170985

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PMID: 28234917

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