Skip to main content

Continuous production of the lipopeptide biosurfactant of Bacillus licheniformis JF-2


Bacillus licheniformis JF-2 synthesizes a surfactin-like lipopeptide that is the most effective biosurfactant known. In shake-flask cultures the biosurfactant is produced by actively growing cells (mid-linear phase), but subsequently it becomes rapidly internalized by the cells as soon as the culture enters the stationary phase. This deactivation phenomenon is a major hurdle in the efficient production of the biosurfactant. We have shown that the synthesis of the JF-2 lipopeptide is strongly dependent on O2 concentration with substantial production observed only in cultures grown under O2-limiting conditions. In continuous cultures the biosurfactant was produced only within a narrow window of low dilution rates. At a dilution rate of 0.12 h−1 and low dissolved O2, the biosurfactant concentration was maintained at 33 mg/l, which is virtually the same as the maximum concentration obtained in optimized batch fermentations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Arima K, Kakinuma A, Tamura G (1968) Surfactin, a crystalline peptidelipid surfactant produced by Bacillus subtilis: isolation, characterization and its inhibition of fibrin clot formation. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 31:488–494

    Google Scholar 

  • Ataai MM, Strohm EJ, Jeong JW (1989) Bacillus subtilis as a host of recombinant vectors: the protease problem. In: Todd P, Sikder SK (eds) Frontiers in Bioprocessing. CRC press, pp. 167–171

  • Cooper DG, Macdonald CR, Duff SJB, Kosaric N (1981) Enhanced production of surfactin from Bacillus subtilis by continuous product removal and metal cation additions. Appl Environ Microbiol 42:408–412

    Google Scholar 

  • Georgiou G, Lin SC, Sharma MM (1992) Surface-active compounds from microorganisms. Bio/Technology 10:60–65

    Google Scholar 

  • Goursaud JC (1989) Production of a biosurfactant by Bacillus licheniformis JF-2. MS Thesis, The University of Texas, Austin

    Google Scholar 

  • Harvey S, Elashvili I, Valdes JJ, Kamely D, Chakrabarty AM (1990) Enhanced removal of Exxon Valdez spilled oil from Alaskan gravel by a microbial surfactant. Bio/Technology 8:228–230

    Google Scholar 

  • Javaheri M, Jenneman GE, McInerney MJ, Knapp RM (1985) Anaerobic production of a biosurfactant by Bacillus licheniformis JF-2. Appl. Environ Microbiol 50:698–70

    Google Scholar 

  • Jenneman GE, McInerney MJ, Knapp RM, Clark JB, Ferro JM, Revus DE, Menzie DE (1983) A halotolerant, biosurfactant-producing Bacillus species potentially useful for enhanced oil recovery. Dev Ind Microbiol 24:485–492

    Google Scholar 

  • Jenny K, Deltrieu V, Käppeli O (1993) Lipopeptide production by Bacillus licheniformis. In: Kosaric N (ed) Biosurfactants. Dekker, New York, p 135

    Google Scholar 

  • Lin SC, Goursaud JC, Kramer PJ, Georgiou G, Sharma MM (1990) Production of biosurfactant by Bacillus licheniformis strain JF-2. In: Donaldson EC (ed) Microbial enhancement of oil recovery—recent advances. Elsevier, Amsterdam, p 219

    Google Scholar 

  • Lin SC, Sharma MM, Georgiou G (1993a) Production and deactivation of biosurfactant by Bacillus licheniformis JF-2. Biotechnol Prog 9:138–145

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lin SC, Sharma MM, Georgiou G (1993b) Purification, structural and immunological characterization of a biosurfactant produced by Bacillus licheniformis JF-2. Appl Environ Microbiol 60:31–38

    Google Scholar 

  • Müller-Hurtig R, Blaszczyk R, Wagner F, Kosaric N (1993) Biosurfactants for environmental control. In: Kosaric N (ed) Biosurfactants. marcel, New York, p 447

    Google Scholar 

  • Oberbremer A, Müller-Hurtig R, Wagner F (1990) Effects of the addition of microbial surfactants of hydrocarbon degradation in a soil population in a stirred reactor. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 32:485–489

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Dyke MI, Lee H, Trevors JT (1991) Applications of microbial surfactants. Biotechnol Adv 9:241–252

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lin, S.C., Carswell, K.S., Sharma, M.M. et al. Continuous production of the lipopeptide biosurfactant of Bacillus licheniformis JF-2. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 41, 281–285 (1994).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Fermentation
  • Bacillus
  • Dilution Rate
  • Continuous Culture
  • Efficient Production