Microbial biosurfactants: challenges and opportunities for future exploitation

R Marchant, Ibrahim Banat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

391 Citations (Scopus)


The drive for industrial sustainability has pushed biosurfactants to the top of the agenda of many companies. Biosurfactants offer the possibility of replacing chemical surfactants, produced from nonrenewable resources, with alternatives produced from cheap renewable feedstocks.Biosurfactants are also attractive because they are less damaging to the environment yet are robust enough for industrial use. The most promising biosurfactants at the present time are the glycolipids, sophorolipids produced by Candida yeasts, mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs) produced by Pseudozyma yeasts, and rhamnolipids produced by Pseudomonas. Despite thecurrent enthusiasm for these compounds several residual problems remain. This review highlights remaining problems and indicates the prospects for imminent commercial exploitation of a new generation of microbial biosurfactants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-565
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Nov 2012


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