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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2007 Aug;76(1):23-34. Epub 2007 May 3.

Microbial production and application of sophorolipids.

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  • 1Laboratory of Industrial Microbiology and Biocatalysis, Department of Biochemical and Microbial Technology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000, Ghent, Belgium.


Sophorolipids are surface-active compounds synthesized by a selected number of yeast species. They have been known for over 40 years, but because of growing environmental awareness, they recently regained attention as biosurfactants due to their biodegradability, low ecotoxicity, and production based on renewable resources. In this paper, an overview is given of the producing yeast strains and various aspects of fermentative sophorolipid production. Also, the biochemical pathways and regulatory mechanisms involved in sophorolipid biosynthesis are outlined. To conclude, a summary is given on possible applications of sophorolipids, either as native or modified molecules.

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