The soil is one of the most important parts of the environment and is a non-renewable resource which performs many social and environmental functions, like biomass production, filtration, buffering and transformation of many substances. The soil has a role as a habitat and gene pool. These functions are worthy of protection because of their socio-economic and environmental importance. The filtering and transformation are important functions because many solids or liquids are placed on soil. However, these capacities of soil are limited and vary according to the specific soil conditions. Therefore, there can be danger to the ground water or food chain, if the depositions are there for a long time. The biodegradation is the most important way to transform these compounds in the environment. However, many compounds derived from petroleum are recalcitrant, because few microorganisms can metabolize them. Thus, the impact caused by hydrocarbons encouraged the search for renewable energy sources like biodiesel. Along with the great amount of produced biodiesel there is also the production of a residue, glycerol. Several activities should be proposed to maximize the use of this residue in order to cause a smaller impact to the environment, in addition to transform the residue in high added value products. The aim of this project is to use glycerol to generate high added value products like biosurfactants and evaluate the efficiency of this biosurfactants in biodegradation tests with diesel and biodiesel in the presence of glycerol as a co-substrate. The study intends to show changes in the microbial diversity after contamination. The challenge of the study is to draw attention to the soil quality after contamination and provide information to use a residue that will be increasingly abundant.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: