Development and trends of biosurfactant analysis and purification using rhamnolipids as an example

Heyd, M.; Kohnert, A.; Tan, T.-H.; Nusser, M.; Kirschhöfer, F.; Brenner-Weiss, G.; Franzreb, M.; Berensmeier, S.
July 2008
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Jul2008, Vol. 391 Issue 5, p1579
Academic Journal
During the last few decades, increasing interest in biological surfactants led to an intensification of research for the cost-efficient production of biosurfactants compared with traditional petrochemical surface-active components. The quest for alternative production strains also is associated with new demands on biosurfactant analysis. The present paper gives an overview of existing analytical methods, based on the example of rhamnolipids. The methods reviewed range from simple colorimetric testing to sophisticated chromatographic separation coupled with detection systems like mass spectrometry, by means of which detailed structural information is obtained. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with mass spectrometry currently presents the most precise method for rhamnolipid identification and quantification. Suitable approaches to accelerate rhamnolipid quantification for better control of biosurfactant production are HPLC analysis directly from culture broth by adding an internal standard or Fourier transform infrared attenuated total reflectance spectroscopy measurements of culture broth as a possible quasi-online quantification method in the future. The search for alternative rhamnolipid-producing strains makes a structure analysis and constant adaptation of the existing quantification methods necessary. Therefore, simple colorimetric tests based on whole rhamnolipid content can be useful for strain and medium screening. Furthermore, rhamnolipid purification from a fermentation broth will be considered depending on the following application.


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