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Synthesis of Biosurfactants and heir Advantages to Microorganisms and Mankind

Biosurfactants are surface-active compounds synthesized by a wide variety of microorgan-
isms. hey are molecules that have both hydrophobic and hydrophilic domains and are
capable of lowering the surface tension and the interfacial tension of the growth medium.
Biosurfactants possess diferent chemical structures—lipopeptides, glycolipids, neutral lipids
and fatty acids. hey are nontoxic biomolecules that are biodegradable. Biosurfactants also ex- x x
hibit strong emulsiication of hydrophobic compounds and form stable emulsions. he low water
solubility of these hydrophobic compounds limits their availability to microorganisms, which is
a potential problem for bioremediation of contaminated sites. Microbially produced surfactants
enhance the bioavailability of these hydrophobic compounds for bioremediation. herefore,
biosurfactant-enhanced solubility of pollutants has potential applications in bioremediation.
Not only are the biosurfactants useful in a variety of industrial processes, they are also of vital
importance to the microbes in adhesion, emulsiication, bioavailability, desorption and defense
strategy. hese interesting facts are discussed in this chapter.

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