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Mar Drugs. 2016 Feb 18;14(2). pii: E38. doi: 10.3390/md14020038.

Biosurfactants Produced by Marine Microorganisms with Therapeutic Applications.

Author information

1
CEB-Centre of Biological Engineering, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal. egudina@deb.uminho.pt.
2
CEB-Centre of Biological Engineering, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal. jateixeira@deb.uminho.pt.
3
CEB-Centre of Biological Engineering, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal. lrmr@deb.uminho.pt.

Abstract

Marine microorganisms possess unique metabolic and physiological features and are an important source of new biomolecules, such as biosurfactants. Some of these surface-active compounds synthesized by marine microorganisms exhibit antimicrobial, anti-adhesive and anti-biofilm activity against a broad spectrum of human pathogens (including multi-drug resistant pathogens), and could be used instead of existing drugs to treat infections caused by them. In other cases, these biosurfactants show anti-cancer activity, which could be envisaged as an alternative to conventional therapies. However, marine biosurfactants have not been widely explored, mainly due to the difficulties associated with the isolation and growth of their producing microorganisms. Culture-independent techniques (metagenomics) constitute a promising approach to study the genetic resources of otherwise inaccessible marine microorganisms without the requirement of culturing them, and can contribute to the discovery of novel biosurfactants with significant biological activities. This paper reviews the most relevant biosurfactants produced by marine microorganisms with potential therapeutic applications and discusses future perspectives and opportunities to discover novel molecules from marine environments.

KEYWORDS:

anti-adhesive activity; anti-biofilm activity; anti-cancer activity; antimicrobial activity; biosurfactant; metagenomics

PMID:
26901207
PMCID:
PMC4771991
DOI:
10.3390/md14020038
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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