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Trends Biotechnol. 2004 Mar;22(3):142-6.

Potential applications of microbial surfactants in biomedical sciences.

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Institute of Microbial Technology, Sector 39 A, Chandigarh 160036, India.


The main commercial use of biosurfactants is in pollution remediation because of their ability to stabilize emulsions. This enhances the solubility and availability of hydrophobic pollutants, thus increasing their potential for biodegradation. One useful property of many biosurfactants that has not been reviewed extensively is their antimicrobial activity. Several biosurfactants have strong antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity. Other medically relevant uses of biosurfactants include their role as anti-adhesive agents to pathogens, making them useful for treating many diseases and as therapeutic and probiotic agents. Here, we discuss some of the new and exciting applications and related developments of various microbial surfactants in the field of biomedical sciences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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