Biosurfactants: Forthcomings and Regulatory Affairs in Food-Based Industries

Deepansh Sharma, Deepti Singh, Gadhwal Monika Skhbir-Singh, Bhoomika M Karamchandani, Gajender Kumar Aseri, Ibrahim M Banat, Surekha K Satpute

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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The terms discussed in this review—biosurfactants (BSs) and bioemulsifiers (BEs)—describe surface-active molecules of microbial origin which are popular chemical entities for many industries, including food. BSs are generally low-molecular-weight compounds with the ability to reduce surface tension noticeably, whereas BEs are high-molecular-weight molecules with efficient emulsifying abilities. Some other biomolecules, such as lecithin and egg yolk, are useful as natural BEs in food products. The high toxicity and severe ecological impact of many chemical-based surfactants have directed interest towards BSs/BEs. Interest in food surfactant formulations and consumer anticipation of “green label” additives over synthetic or chemical-based surfactants have been steadily increasing. BSs have an undeniable prospective for replacing chemical surfactants with vast significance to food formulations. However, the commercialization of BSs/BEs production has often been limited by several challenges, such as the optimization of fermentation parameters, high downstream costs, and low yields, which had an immense impact on their broader adoptions in different industries, including food. The foremost restriction regarding the access of BSs/BEs is not their lack of cost-effective industrial production methods, but a reluctance regarding their potential safety, as well as the probable microbial hazards that may be associated with them. Most research on BSs/BEs in food production has been restricted to demonstrations and lacks a comprehensive assessment of safety and risk analysis, which has limited their adoption for varied food-related applications. Furthermore, regulatory agencies require extensive exploration and analysis to secure endorsements for the inclusion of BSs/BEs as potential food additives. This review emphasizes the promising properties of BSs/BEs, trailed by an overview of their current use in food formulations, as well as risk and toxicity assessment. Finally, we assess their potential challenges and upcoming future in substituting chemical-based surfactants.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2823
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number6
Early online date21 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 21 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
SK.S. would like to express a deep sense of gratitude toward the funding agency Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), Maharashtra, India (Ref. No. RUSA-CBS-TH-3.2), and toward Savitribai Phule Pune University, India for their financial support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • antimicrobial
  • acute toxicity
  • biosurfactants
  • food additives
  • generally regarded as safe (GRAS) strains


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