Microorganisms produce biosurfactant (BS)/bioemulsifier (BE) with wide structural and functional diversity which consequently results in the adoption of different techniques to investigate these diverse amphiphilic molecules. This review aims to compile information on different microbial screening methods, surface active products extraction procedures, and analytical terminologies used in this field. Different methods for screening microbial culture broth or cell biomass for surface active compounds production are also presented and their possible advantages and disadvantages highlighted. In addition, the most common methods for purification, detection, and structure determination for a wide range of BS and BE are introduced. Simple techniques such as precipitation using acetone, ammonium sulphate, solvent extraction, ultrafiltration, ion exchange, dialysis, ultrafiltration, lyophilization, isoelectric focusing (IEF), and thin layer chromatography (TLC) are described. Other more elaborate techniques including high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), infra red (IR), gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and fast atom bombardment mass spectroscopy (FAB-MS), protein digestion and amino acid sequencing are also elucidated. Various experimental strategies including static light scattering and hydrodynamic characterization for micelles have been discussed. A combination of various analytical methods are often essential in this area of research and a numbers of trials and errors to isolate, purify and characterize various surface active agents are required. This review introduces the various methodologies that are indispensable for studying biosurfactants and bioemulsifiers.
|Critical Reviews in Biotechnology
|Published (in print/issue) - Jun 2010