Skip to main content

Anti-Cancer Biosurfactants

Part of the Environmental and Microbial Biotechnology book series (EMB)


Biosurfactants produced by different types of microorganisms are amphiphilic biomolecules with active surface properties. Recently, biosurfactants have emerged as promising agents for cancer therapy since a high diversity of these molecules has shown the ability to induce cytotoxicity against many cancer cell lines, thus regulating cancer progression processes. In this sense, microbial biosurfactants are a potential alternative to current cancer therapeutics and as drug delivery systems of anti-cancer drugs. This chapter covers the current knowledge of microbial surfactants with anti-cancer potential, providing information on their production, structure, and research on diverse cancer cell lines, namely, breast and lungs cancer, leukemia, melanoma, and colon cancer. The potential application of biosurfactants in drug delivery is also reviewed.


  • Microbial surfactants
  • Structure
  • Production
  • Anti-cancer activity
  • Drug delivery

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

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-981-15-6607-3_8
  • Chapter length: 38 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   219.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-981-15-6607-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   279.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   279.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 8.1
Fig. 8.2
Fig. 8.3
Fig. 8.4
Fig. 8.5
Fig. 8.6
Fig. 8.7
Fig. 8.8
Fig. 8.9
Fig. 8.10
Fig. 8.11
Fig. 8.12
Fig. 8.13
Fig. 8.14
Fig. 8.15


Download references


This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020 & UIDP/50011/2020, financed by national funds through the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology/MCTES. This work was financially supported by POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031268—funded by FEDER, through COMPETE2020—Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI) and by national funds (OE), through FCT/MCTES. Ana P. M. Tavares acknowledges the FCT Investigator Programme and Exploratory Project (IF/01634/2015) with financing from the European Social Fund and the Human Potential Operational Programme. João C. F. Nunes acknowledges SPQ and FCT for the PhD fellowship (SFRH/BD/150671/2020). Flávia Magalhães acknowledges the SPQ and FCT PhD grant (SFRH/BD/150669/2020).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ana P. M. Tavares .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Magalhães, F.F. et al. (2021). Anti-Cancer Biosurfactants. In: Inamuddin, Ahamed, M.I., Prasad, R. (eds) Microbial Biosurfactants. Environmental and Microbial Biotechnology. Springer, Singapore.

Download citation