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.
- Filamentous fungi