Surfactants are surface-active microbial products with an amphiphilic structure that allows these to act as emulsifiers, surfactants, foaming and dispersing agents. Biosurfactants have advantages over their chemically synthesized counterparts, such as biodegradability, lower toxicity, activity at extreme temperatures and pH values, besides the ability to be produced using sustainable by-products. Thus, biosurfactants have potential applications in the chemical, petroleum, environmental and pharmaceutical industries. Biosurfactants may also be used as food additives(which are compounds added to enhance the characteristics of food), acting as thickeners, emulsifiers and stabilizers. This chapter discusses the importance of the microbial biosurfactants, their characteristics and potential industrial applications, particularly as food additives.
- Food additives