Biosurfactants are biocompatible surface active agents which many microorganisms produce. This study investigated the production of biosurfactants by Mucor circinelloides. The effects of different factors on biosurfactant production, including carbon sources and concentrations, nitrogen sources, and iron (II) concentration, were studied and the optimum condition determined. Finally, the strain's ability to remove the crude oil and its relationship with biosurfactant production was evaluated. The results showed that M. circinelloides could reduce the surface tension of the culture medium to 26.6 mN/m and create a clear zone of 12.9 cm diameter in an oil-spreading test. The maximum surface tension reduction was recorded 3 days after incubation. The optimum condition for biosurfactant production was achieved in the presence of 8% waste frying oil as a carbon source, 2 g/L yeast extract as a nitrogen source, and 0.01 mM FeSO4. M. circinelloides could consume 8% waste frying oil in 5 days of incubation, and 87.6% crude oil in 12 days of incubation. A direct correlation was observed between oil degradation and surface tension reduction in the first 3 days of fungal growth. The results showed that the waste frying oil could be recommended as an inexpensive oily waste substance for biosurfactant production, and M. circinelloides could have the potential to treat waste frying oil. According to the results, the produced crude biosurfactant or fungal strain could be directly used for the mycoremediation of crude oil contamination in oil fields.

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