Objective. To isolate biosurfactant-producing microorganisms from the rhizosphere of fique and to select the best genus to evaluate the effect of nutritional and fermentation conditions on the production of rhamnolipids. Materials and methods. Rhizospheric soil was sampled in three areas of Cauca. The best genus was selected for the experimental designs (Plackett Burman and 22 factorial) and to find the production conditions for the growth kinetics at an Erlenmeyer flask scale. Results. Isolates from the rhizosphere of fique plants were from groups (or genera) of Bacillus, Pseudomonas and Streptomyces, being Pseudomonas the more responsive in preliminary testing for emulsification. From the results of the experimental designs and the kinetics of production, we found that rhamnose synthesis associated with rhamnolipids (3.2 g/l) and emulsification (68% EC24) was significantly favored (p <0.0001) by cultivating an inoculum of 10% v/v of Pseudomonas fluorescens in a medium composed of: soybean oil 2% (v/v), K2HPO4 0.2% (w/v), yeast extract 0.4 g/l, NH4NO3 3.7 g/l, 1 ml trace elements (CoCl3 20 mg/l, H3BO3 30 mg/l, ZnSO4 10 mg/l, Cu2SO4 1 mg/l, Na2MoO4 3 mg/l, FeSO4 10 mg/l MnSO4 2,6 mg/l) and pH 7.2. Conclusion. Of all the microbial genera isolated from the rhizosphere of fique, Pseudomonas fluorescens had the greatest potential in the production of biosurfactants of the rhamnolipids family.
Key words: Pseudomonas fluorescens, biosurfactant, rhamnose, emulsification index, soybean oil.