Potential therapeutic applications of microbial surface-activecompounds

Letizia Fracchia, Jareer J. Banat, Massimo Cavallo, Ibrahim M Banat

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Numerous investigations of microbial surface-active compounds or biosurfactants over thepast two decades have led to the discovery of many interesting physicochemical and biologicalproperties including antimicrobial, anti-biofilm and therapeutic among many other pharmaceuticaland medical applications. Microbial control and inhibition strategies involving the use of antibioticsare becoming continually challenged due to the emergence of resistant strains mostly embeddedwithin biofilm formations that are difficult to eradicate. Different aspects of antimicrobial andanti-biofilm control are becoming issues of increasing importance in clinical, hygiene, therapeuticand other applications. Biosurfactants research has resulted in increasing interest into their ability toinhibit microbial activity and disperse microbial biofilms in addition to being mostly nontoxic andstable at extremes conditions. Some biosurfactants are now in use in clinical, food and environmental fields, whilst others remain under investigation and development. The dispersal properties of biosurfactants have been shown to rival that of conventional inhibitory agents against bacterial, fungal and yeast biofilms as well as viral membrane structures. This presents them as potential candidates for future uses in new generations of antimicrobial agents or as adjuvants to other antibiotics and use as preservatives for microbial suppression and eradication strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-162
JournalAIMS Bioengineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 14 Aug 2015


  • biosurfactants
  • biofilm
  • anti-biofilm
  • anti-adhesive
  • antimicrobial
  • adjuvants


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