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      Advances in utilization of renewable substrates for biosurfactant production

      , 1 , 2 , 3

      AMB Express

      Springer

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          Abstract

          Biosurfactants are amphiphilic molecules that have both hydrophilic and hydrophobic moieties which partition preferentially at the interfaces such as liquid/liquid, gas/liquid or solid/liquid interfaces. Such characteristics enable emulsifying, foaming, detergency and dispersing properties. Their low toxicity and environmental friendly nature and the wide range of potential industrial applications in bioremediation, health care, oil and food processing industries makes them a highly sought after group of chemical compounds. Interest in them has also been encouraged because of the potential advantages they offer over their synthetic counterparts in many fields spanning environmental, food, biomedical, petrochemical and other industrial applications. Their large scale production and application however are currently restricted by the high cost of production and by the limited understanding of their interactions with cells and with the abiotic environment. In this paper, we review the current knowledge and latest advances in the search for cost effective renewable agro industrial alternative substrates for their production.

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          Most cited references 180

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          Microbial biosurfactants production, applications and future potential.

          Microorganisms synthesise a wide range of surface-active compounds (SAC), generally called biosurfactants. These compounds are mainly classified according to their molecular weight, physico-chemical properties and mode of action. The low-molecular-weight SACs or biosurfactants reduce the surface tension at the air/water interfaces and the interfacial tension at oil/water interfaces, whereas the high-molecular-weight SACs, also called bioemulsifiers, are more effective in stabilising oil-in-water emulsions. Biosurfactants are attracting much interest due to their potential advantages over their synthetic counterparts in many fields spanning environmental, food, biomedical, and other industrial applications. Their large-scale application and production, however, are currently limited by the high cost of production and by limited understanding of their interactions with cells and with the abiotic environment. In this paper, we review the current knowledge and the latest advances in biosurfactant applications and the biotechnological strategies being developed for improving production processes and future potential.
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            Microbial production of surfactants and their commercial potential.

            Many microorganisms, especially bacteria, produce biosurfactants when grown on water-immiscible substrates. Biosurfactants are more effective, selective, environmentally friendly, and stable than many synthetic surfactants. Most common biosurfactants are glycolipids in which carbohydrates are attached to a long-chain aliphatic acid, while others, like lipopeptides, lipoproteins, and heteropolysaccharides, are more complex. Rapid and reliable methods for screening and selection of biosurfactant-producing microorganisms and evaluation of their activity have been developed. Genes involved in rhamnolipid synthesis (rhlAB) and regulation (rhlI and rhlR) in Pseudomonas aeruginosa are characterized, and expression of rhlAB in heterologous hosts is discussed. Genes for surfactin production (sfp, srfA, and comA) in Bacillus spp. are also characterized. Fermentative production of biosurfactants depends primarily on the microbial strain, source of carbon and nitrogen, pH, temperature, and concentration of oxygen and metal ions. Addition of water-immiscible substrates to media and nitrogen and iron limitations in the media result in an overproduction of some biosurfactants. Other important advances are the use of water-soluble substrates and agroindustrial wastes for production, development of continuous recovery processes, and production through biotransformation. Commercialization of biosurfactants in the cosmetic, food, health care, pulp- and paper-processing, coal, ceramic, and metal industries has been proposed. However, the most promising applications are cleaning of oil-contaminated tankers, oil spill management, transportation of heavy crude oil, enhanced oil recovery, recovery of crude oil from sludge, and bioremediation of sites contaminated with hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and other pollutants. Perspectives for future research and applications are also discussed.
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              Potential commercial applications of microbial surfactants.

              Surfactants are surface-active compounds capable of reducing surface and interfacial tension at the interfaces between liquids, solids and gases, thereby allowing them to mix or disperse readily as emulsions in water or other liquids. The enormous market demand for surfactants is currently met by numerous synthetic, mainly petroleum-based, chemical surfactants. These compounds are usually toxic to the environment and non-biodegradable. They may bio-accumulate and their production, processes and by-products can be environmentally hazardous. Tightening environmental regulations and increasing awareness for the need to protect the ecosystem have effectively resulted in an increasing interest in biosurfactants as possible alternatives to chemical surfactants. Biosurfactants are amphiphilic compounds of microbial origin with considerable potential in commercial applications within various industries. They have advantages over their chemical counterparts in biodegradability and effectiveness at extreme temperature or pH and in having lower toxicity. Biosurfactants are beginning to acquire a status as potential performance-effective molecules in various fields. At present biosurfactants are mainly used in studies on enhanced oil recovery and hydrocarbon bioremediation. The solubilization and emulsification of toxic chemicals by biosurfactants have also been reported. Biosurfactants also have potential applications in agriculture, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, detergents, personal care products, food processing, textile manufacturing, laundry supplies, metal treatment and processing, pulp and paper processing and paint industries. Their uses and potential commercial applications in these fields are reviewed.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                AMB Express
                AMB Express
                Springer
                2191-0855
                2011
                28 March 2011
                : 1
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ]279 Sweet Alyssum Dr. Ladson SC. 29456, USA
                [2 ]Scientist F, Fellow AMI, FNABS, NESA Environmentalist, Member WFCC Task Groups, Institute of Microbial Technology, Sector 39A, Chandigarh-160036, India
                [3 ]Professor Ibrahim M. Banat BSc PhD CBiol FIBiol, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, Northern Ireland, UK
                Article
                2191-0855-1-5
                10.1186/2191-0855-1-5
                3159906
                21906330
                Copyright ©2011 Makkar; licensee Springer.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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                Biotechnology

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