Biosurfactants pp 261-280 | Cite as

Synthesis of Biosurfactants and Their Advantages to Microorganisms and Mankind

  • Swaranjit Singh Cameotra
  • Randhir S. Makkar
  • Jasminder Kaur
  • S. K. Mehta
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 672)


Biosurfactants are surface-active compounds synthesized by a wide variety of microorganisms. They are molecules that have both hydrophobic and hydrophilic domains and are capable of lowering the surface tension and the interfacial tension of the growth medium. Biosurfactants possess different chemical structures—lipopeptides, glycolipids, neutral lipids and fatty acids. They are nontoxic biomolecules that are biodegradable. Biosurfactants also exhibit strong emulsification of hydrophobic compounds and form stable emulsions. The low water solubility of these hydrophobic compounds limits their availability to microorganisms, which is a potential problem for bioremediation of contaminated sites. Microbially produced surfactants enhance the bioavailability of these hydrophobic compounds for bioremediation. Therefore, biosurfactant-enhanced solubility of pollutants has potential applications in bioremediation. Not only are the biosurfactants useful in a variety of industrial processes, they are also of vital importance to the microbes in adhesion, emulsification, bioavailability, desorption and defense strategy. These interesting facts are discussed in this chapter.


Microbial Surfactant Sugar Beet Rhizosphere 
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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Swaranjit Singh Cameotra
    • 1
  • Randhir S. Makkar
    • 2
  • Jasminder Kaur
    • 3
  • S. K. Mehta
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Microbial Technology and Microbial Type Culture Collection and Gene BankInternational Development AssociationChandigarhIndia
  2. 2.Department of Developmental Neurogenetics Children Research InstituteMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  3. 3.Home ScienceChandigarh Admn.ChandigarhIndia
  4. 4.Center of Advanced Studies in Chemistry Department of ChemistryPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia

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