Toxicity Profiling of Biosurfactants Produced by Novel Marine Bacterial Strains

Georgia-Persephoni Voulgaridou, Theodora Mantso, Ioannis Anestopoulos, Ariel Klavaris, Christina Katzastra, Desponia-Eugenia Kiousi, Marini Mantela, Alex Galanis, Konstantinos Gardikis, Ibrahim M Banat, Tony Gutierrez, Karina Salek, Stephen Euston, Mihalis Panayiotidis, Aglaia Pappa

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28 Citations (Scopus)
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Surface active agents (SAAs), currently used in modern industry, are synthetic chemicals produced from non-renewable sources, with potential toxic impacts on humans and the environment. Thus, there is an increased interest for the identification and utilization of natural derived SAAs. As such, the marine environment is considered a promising source of biosurfactants with low toxicity, environmental compatibility, and biodegradation compared to their synthetic counterparts. MARISURF is a Horizon 2020 EU-funded project aiming to identify and functionally characterize SAAs, derived from a unique marine bacterial collection, towards commercial exploitation. Specifically, rhamnolipids produced by MCTG107b and MCTG214(3b1) strains were previously identified and characterized while currently their toxicity profile was assessed by utilizing well-established methodologies. Our results showed a lack of cytotoxicity in models of human skin and liver as indicated by alamar blue and propidium iodide assays. Additionally, the use of the single gel electrophoresis assay, under oxidative stress conditions, revealed absence of any significant mutagenic/anti-mutagenic potential. Finally, both 2,2'-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonicacid) (ABTS) and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical (DPPH) cell-free assays, revealed no significant anti-oxidant capacity for neither of the tested compounds. Consequently, the absence of significant cytotoxicity and/or mutagenicity justifies their commercial exploitation and potential development into industrial end-user applications as natural and environmentally friendly biosurfactants.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2383
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 27 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020 under grant agreement No 635340.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • surface active agents; marine biosurfactants; toxicity profiling; antioxidant activity; anti-mutagenic activity; cytotoxicity; Marinobacter strains; Pseudomonas strains; in vitro skin model; in vitro liver model
  • In vitro skin model
  • Toxicity profiling
  • Surface active agents
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Anti-mutagenic activity
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Marine biosurfactants
  • Pseudomonas strains
  • Marinobacter strains
  • In vitro liver model


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