Fungal biosurfactants, from nature to biotechnological product: bioprospection, production and potential applications

André Felipe da Silva, Ibrahim M Banat, Admir José Giachini, Diogo Robl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


Biosurfactants are in demand by the global market as natural commodities that can be added to commercial products or use in environmental applications. These biomolecules reduce the surface/interfacial tension between fluid phases and exhibit superior stability to chemical surfactants under different physico-chemical conditions. Biotechnological production of biosurfactants is still emerging. Fungi are promising producers of these molecules with unique chemical structures, such as sophorolipids, mannosylerythritol lipids, cellobiose lipids, xylolipids, polyol lipids and hydrophobins. In this review, we aimed to contextualize concepts related to fungal biosurfactant production and its application in industry and the environment. Concepts related to the thermodynamic and physico-chemical properties of biosurfactants are presented, which allows detailed analysis of their structural and application. Promising niches for isolating biosurfactant-producing fungi are presented, as well as screening methodologies are discussed. Finally, strategies related to process parameters and variables, simultaneous production, process optimization through statistical and genetic tools, downstream processing and some aspects of commercial products formulations are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2003-2034
Number of pages32
JournalBioprocess and Biosystems Engineering
Early online date16 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the Bioprocess and Biotechnology Engineering Degree at the Federal University of Tocantins-BR and the Graduate Program in Biotechnology and Biosciences at the Federal University of Santa Catarina-BR for promoting the professional qualification of the first author.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Bioprocess
  • Biosurfactants
  • Downstream
  • Filamentous fungi
  • Screening
  • Yeasts
  • Surface Tension
  • Thermodynamics
  • Biotechnology/methods
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Fungi/metabolism
  • Surface-Active Agents/metabolism


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