Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 2192–2206 | Cite as

Glycolipid Biosurfactants, Main Classes, Functional Properties and Related Potential Applications in Environmental Biotechnology

  • Inès Mnif
  • Semia Ellouz-Chaabouni
  • Dhouha Ghribi


Glycolipids, consisting of a carbohydrate moiety linked to fatty acids, are microbial surface active compounds produced by various microorganisms. Glycolipids are characterized by highly structural diversity and have the ability to decrease the surface and interfacial tension at the surface and interface respectively. It presented initially a detailed classification of glycolipid including rhamnolipids, trehalolipids, mannosylerythritol-lipids, cellobiolipids; along with their producing strain. The review described the main functional properties of glycolipid including emulsification/de-emulsification capacity, foaming and moisturizing, viscosity reduction and hydrocarbon solubilizing and mobilizing capacities. Owing these properties, they can be applied in environmental fields as hydrocarbon emulsifiers, solubilizing and mobilizing agents, for their moisturizing capabilities and ability to reduce viscosity. The review will present a detailed classification of glycolipid biosurfactants, functional properties and the potential related applications in environment and bioremediation.


Glycolipids Surfactants Emulsification Solubilisation Mobilisation Heavy metal chelation Bioremediation 



This work has been supported by grants from ‘‘Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology”.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inès Mnif
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Semia Ellouz-Chaabouni
    • 1
    • 3
  • Dhouha Ghribi
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Unit Enzymes and BioconversionNational School of Engineers, ENISSfaxTunisia
  2. 2.Faculty of Sciences of GabesGabesTunisia
  3. 3.Higher Institute of BiotechnologySfaxTunisia
  4. 4.Laboratoire d’amélioration des plantes et Valorization des AgroressourcesNational School of EngineersSfaxTunisia

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