Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 1, pp 27–37 | Cite as

Microbial biosurfactants for oil spill remediation: pitfalls and potentials

  • Seema PatelEmail author
  • Ahmad HomaeiEmail author
  • Sangram Patil
  • Achlesh Daverey


Spillage of fossil-based oils during their conveyance through water conduits are sporadic, but significant environmental disasters. As the viscous hydrocarbons of the crude oils spread on water surface and choke aquatic life to death, their effective degradation is crucial for ecological balance. Though chemical and mechanical means are conventional ways to tackle the issues, they are riddled with limitations. In this scenario, coercing the biosurfactant-producing bacteria and fungi are promising avenues. Biosurfactants, the amphiphilic compounds, are capable of reducing interfacial tension, dispersing the oil particles, and degrading them into non-toxic debris. Among the vast array of biosurfactants, the trio of rhamnolipid, sophorolipid, and surfactin have been characterized well. Among the microbes, only Pseudomonas, Bacillus, and Candida have been evaluated, while there can be other exploitable candidates. In this regard, this review discusses the scopes and hurdles in utilization of the microbial surface-active compounds for oil spill management.


Biosurfactant Oil spill Rhamnolipids Sophorolipids Surfactins Bioremediation 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

In this review work, no human or animal subjects have been used. All ethics of publication has been adhered to in preparing this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bioinformatics and Medical Informatics Research CenterSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Marine Biology, Faculty of Marine Science and TechnologyUniversity of HormozganBandar AbbasIran
  3. 3.Department of Chemical EngineeringNational Institute of TechnologyRourkelaIndia
  4. 4.School of Environment and Natural ResourcesDoon UniversityDehradunIndia

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