Sara Koupaei Rose Hills
Significance of Unique Rhamnolipid Production in Paraburkholderia sp.
I am interested in learning more about the unique rhamnolipid methyl esters (RMEs) produced by the pyrophilous bacterium Paraburkholderia sp. F3 and RMEs’ ecological significance. Previous endeavors in this project have uncovered the production of the unique RMEs by P. sp. F3, which first attracted attention due to its antibiotic activity against a pyrophilous fungus (Pyronema omphalodes) found in the same environment as P. sp. F3. After purification and identification of these antibiotic compounds, the RMEs were identified as analogs of the rhamnolipids produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a biosurfactant with applications in agricultural, pharmaceutical, food, cosmetics, and detergent industries. The small differences in the structures of the Pseudomonas rhamnolipids and the RMEs suggest that RMEs are stronger surfactants. If this is the case, learning more about RMEs and how to produce them could play a very important role in formulating better fire recovery strategies and also developing more effective surfactants to clean oil spills or heavy metal contaminations.