Downstream Processing of Microbial Biosurfactants

Ibrahim Banat, R Thavasi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The global biosurfactants (BSs) market is estimated at $4.20 billion in 2017 and projected to reach $5.52 billion by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% from 2017 to 2022 (Global biosurfactants market research report by Markets and Markets™ Inc. 2017). Increase in regulation and consumer preference towards bio-based and organic products, particularly in Europe and North America, is expected to increase BSs use in many products (Marchant and Banat 2012a). The commercial production of BSs such as sophorolipids (SLs), rhamnolipids (RLs) and mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs) changed the image of microbial BSs as commercially viable molecules with potential applications (Marchant and Banat 2012b). As their demand in the market rises, so does the demand for large scale production of cost effective sustainable renewable substrates (Banat et al. 2014) and efficient downstream processing techniques. Downstream processing of BSs accounts for 60% of the production cost (Desai and Banat 1997, Satpute et al. 2010). It is therefore an important factor that determines the final price of the produced BSs. Large scale downstream processing of SLs, RLs and MELs is commercially and economically viable. Even though simple separation processes are commercially viable, some end uses of BSs are limited by their purity, which varies significantly and many applications require further purification which increases the final product price. Medical and cosmetic application of BSs for example may require highly purified BSs while environmental and agricultural application may require low purity or crude BSs. There are many research and review articles (Mulligan and Gibbs 2004, Rau et al. 2005, Satpute et al. 2010, Winterburn et al. 2011, Weber et al. 2012, Weber and Zeiner 2015, Shah et al. 2016) providing details on downstream processing of different microbial BSs. This chapter will collectively discuss the downstream processing protocols of microbial BSs, including isolation, extraction, and purification.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMicrobial Biosurfactants and their Environmental and Industrial Applications
Editors Rengathavasi Thavasi, Ibrahim Banat
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781138197954
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 19 Dec 2018


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