Biosurfactants: Properties, commercial production and application

Muthusamy, Krishnaswamy; Gopalakrishnan, Subbuchettiar; Ravi, Thiengungal Kochupappy; Sivachidambaram, Panchaksharam
March 2008
Current Science (00113891);3/25/2008, Vol. 94 Issue 6, p736
Academic Journal
Biosurfactants or microbial surfactants are surface-active biomolecules that are produced by a variety of microorganisms. Biosurfactants have gained importance in the fields of enhanced oil recovery, environmental bioremediation, food processing and pharmaceuticals owing to their unique properties such as higher biodegradability and lower toxicity. Interest in the production of biosurfactants has steadily increased during the past decade. However, large-scale production of these molecules has not been realized because of low yields in production processes and high recovery and purification costs. This article describes some practical approaches that have been adopted to make the biosurfactant production process economically attractive. These include the use of cheaper raw materials, optimized and efficient bioprocesses and overproducing mutant and recombinant strains for obtaining maximum productivity. Here, we discuss the role and applications of biosurfactants focusing mainly on medicinal and therapeutic perspectives. With these specialized and cost-effective applications in biomedicine, we can look forward to biosurfactants as the molecules of the future.


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