Towards commercial production of microbial surfactants
Biosurfactants or microbial surfactants are surface-active biomolecules that are produced by a variety of microorganisms. Biosurfactants have gained importance in the fields of enhanced oil recovery, environmental bioremediation, food processing and pharmaceuticals owing to their unique properties – higher biodegradability, lower toxicity, and effectiveness at extremes of temperature, pH and salinity. However, large-scale production of these molecules has not been realized because of low yields in production processes and high recovery and purification costs. This article describes some practical approaches that have been adopted to make the biosurfactant production process economically attractive: these include the use of cheaper raw materials, optimized and efficient bioprocesses and overproducing mutant and recombinant strains for obtaining maximum productivity. The application of these strategies in biosurfactant production processes, particularly those using hyper-producing recombinant strains in the optimally controlled environment of a bioreactor, might lead towards the successful commercial production of these valuable and versatile biomolecules in near future.
Journal: - Volume 24, Issue 11, November 2006, Pages 509–515