Synthesis of biosurfactants in extreme conditions
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The interest in industrial biotechnology and its importance opens up challenging possibilities of research in this area. Surfactants have long been among the most versatile of process chemicals. Their market is extremely competitive and manufacturers will have to expand their arsenal to develop products for the year 2000 and beyond. Biosurfactants are one of the most promising compounds in this regard. A review of the literature reveals that studies on oil-degrading and biosurfactant-producing microorganisms deal almost exclusively with their synthesis in moderate environments. Biosurfactants and the microbes that produce them have numerous industrial, medical and environmental applications, which frequently involve exposure to extremes of temperatures, pressure, ionic strength, pH and organic solvents. Hence, there is a continuing need to isolate microbes that are able to function under extreme conditions. There is an urgent need to explore these extremophiles for their ability to produce biosurfactants that can function suitably under the conditions prevailing when they are applied.
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