, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 1005-1016,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 03 Jan 2013

Biosurfactants in agriculture

Abstract

Agricultural productivity to meet growing demands of human population is a matter of great concern for all countries. Use of green compounds to achieve the sustainable agriculture is the present necessity. This review highlights the enormous use of harsh surfactants in agricultural soil and agrochemical industries. Biosurfactants which are reported to be produced by bacteria, yeasts, and fungi can serve as green surfactants. Biosurfactants are considered to be less toxic and eco-friendly and thus several types of biosurfactants have the potential to be commercially produced for extensive applications in pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and food industries. The biosurfactants synthesized by environmental isolates also has promising role in the agricultural industry. Many rhizosphere and plant associated microbes produce biosurfactant; these biomolecules play vital role in motility, signaling, and biofilm formation, indicating that biosurfactant governs plant–microbe interaction. In agriculture, biosurfactants can be used for plant pathogen elimination and for increasing the bioavailability of nutrient for beneficial plant associated microbes. Biosurfactants can widely be applied for improving the agricultural soil quality by soil remediation. These biomolecules can replace the harsh surfactant presently being used in million dollar pesticide industries. Thus, exploring biosurfactants from environmental isolates for investigating their potential role in plant growth promotion and other related agricultural applications warrants details research. Conventional methods are followed for screening the microbial population for production of biosurfactant. However, molecular methods are fewer in reaching biosurfactants from diverse microbial population and there is need to explore novel biosurfactant from uncultured microbes in soil biosphere by using advanced methodologies like functional metagenomics.