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Trends Biotechnol. 2012 Nov;30(11):558-65. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2012.07.003. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Microbial biosurfactants: challenges and opportunities for future exploitation.

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School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, UK.


The drive for industrial sustainability has pushed biosurfactants to the top of the agenda of many companies. Biosurfactants offer the possibility of replacing chemical surfactants, produced from nonrenewable resources, with alternatives produced from cheap renewable feedstocks. Biosurfactants are also attractive because they are less damaging to the environment yet are robust enough for industrial use. The most promising biosurfactants at the present time are the glycolipids, sophorolipids produced by Candida yeasts, mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs) produced by Pseudozyma yeasts, and rhamnolipids produced by Pseudomonas. Despite the current enthusiasm for these compounds several residual problems remain. This review highlights remaining problems and indicates the prospects for imminent commercial exploitation of a new generation of microbial biosurfactants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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