Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 413–435 | Cite as

Use of wastes for sophorolipids production as a transition to circular economy: state of the art and perspectives

  • Pedro Jiménez-Peñalver
  • Alejandra Rodríguez
  • Achlesh Daverey
  • Xavier FontEmail author
  • Teresa Gea
Mini Review


Chemical processes and petroleum-based chemicals are being substituted by biological processes and bioproducts. Surfactants and biosurfactants are an example of this trend. Among the biosurfactants, sophorolipids (SLs) have excellent surface and interfacial tension properties, which make them ideal to be used in a wide variety of applications. SLs are produced at full scale through submerged fermentation of pure substrates (glucose and oleic acid). However, research trends suggest that there is a lot of interest to produce SLs from waste effluents and other low-cost substrates, both in submerged and solid-state fermentation processes. This study reviews the current research in the production of SLs via fermentation processes, focusing on those using wastes, by-products, or low-cost substrates (liquids or solids). It details the substrates, process variables, microorganisms, and use of supplementary media for batch, fed-batch, and continuous submerged or solid-state fermentation processes. Sophorolipids production based on industrial by-products and waste effluents presents huge potential for its application at an industrial scale in a more economical and environmentally friendly process, boosting the necessary change to circular economy.


Biosurfactants Submerged fermentation Solid-state fermentation Wastes Low-cost substrates Review 



The authors thank the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Project CTM2015-69513-R) for their financial support.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Composting Research Group, Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Escola d’EnginyeriaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaCerdanyola del VallèsSpain
  2. 2.School of Environment and Natural ResourcesDoon UniversityDehradunIndia

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