Biosurfactant's role in bioremediation of napl and fermentative production

Sanket J. Joshi, Anjana J. Desai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

21 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract Surfactants and biosurfactants are amphipathic molecules with both hydrophilic and hydrophobic moieties that partition preferentially at the interface between fluid phases that have different degrees of polarity and hydrogen bonding which confers excellent detergency, emulsifying, foaming and dispersing traits, making them most versatile process chemicals. One of the major applications of (bio)surfactants is in environmental bioremediation field. Most synthetic organic compounds present in contaminated soils are only weakly soluble or completely insoluble in water, so they exist in the subsurface as separate liquid phase, often referred as a non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPL), which poses as threat to environment. Several studies have revealed the use of surfactants for remediation; however, several factors limit the use of surfactants in environmental remediation, mainly persistence of surfactants or their metabolites and thus potentially pose an environmental concern. Biosurfactants may provide a more cost-effective approach for subsurface remediation when used alone or in combination with synthetic surfactants. There are several advantages of biosurfactants when compared to chemical surfactants, mainly biodegradability, low toxicity, biocompatibility and ability to be synthesized from renewable feedstock. Despite having many commercially attractive properties and clear advantages compared with their synthetic counterparts, biosurfactants have not yet been employed extensively in industry because of their low yields and relatively high production and recovery costs. However, the use of mutants and recombinant hyperproducing microorganisms along with the use of cheaper raw materials and optimal growth and production conditions and more efficient recovery processes, the production of biosurfactant can be made economically feasible. Therefore, future research aiming for high-level production of biosurfactants must be focused towards the development of appropriate combinations of hyperproducing microbial strains, optimized cheaper production media and optimized process conditions, which will lead to economical commercial level biosurfactant production.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiosurfactants
EditorsRamkrishna Sen
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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