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ISSN: 2155-952X
Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials

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Biosurfactant Production

Rodrigo Siqueira Reis*

School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney, Australia

Corresponding Author:
Rodrigo Siqueira Reis
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Sydney, Australia
Tel: +61 02 9114 1313
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: October 19, 2012; Accepted date: October 19, 2012; Published date: October 21, 2012

Citation: Reis RS (2012) Biosurfactant Production. J Biotechnol Biomater 2:e115. doi:10.4172/2155-952X.1000e115

Copyright: © 2012 Reis RS, This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Abstract

Great emphasis has recently been given to the environmental impacts caused by chemical surfactants due to their toxicity and difficulty in being degraded. Increasing environmental concerns, the advance in biotechnology and the emergence of more stringent laws have led to biosurfactants being a serious alternative to the chemical surfactants available on the market. Although biosurfactants have promising use in bioremediation processes, their industrial scale production is currently difficult due to high raw-material costs, high processing costs and low manufacturing output. As a result, the current research challenges are to increase the yield and to reduce the cost of raw materials.

Great emphasis has recently been given to the environmental impacts caused by chemical surfactants due to their toxicity and difficulty in being degraded. Increasing environmental concerns, the advance in biotechnology and the emergence of more stringent laws have led to biosurfactants being a serious alternative to the chemical surfactants available on the market. Although biosurfactants have promising use in bioremediation processes, their industrial scale production is currently difficult due to high raw-material costs, high processing costs and low manufacturing output. As a result, the current research challenges are to increase the yield and to reduce the cost of raw materials.

The number of publications and patents involving biosurfactants has recently increased considerably, and although many biosurfactants and their manufacturing processes have been patented, only some of them have been commercialized. EC-601 (EcoChem Organics Company), a dispersive agent of water-insoluble hydrocarbons containing rhamnolipids, and PD5 (Pendragon Holdings Ltd), an additive for fuels based on a mixture of rhamnolipid biosurfactants and enzymes, are examples of biosurfactant-based products commercially available. Several studies have aimed to optimize the biosurfactant production process by changing the variables that influence the type and amount of biosurfactant produced by a microorganism. Important variables are carbon and nitrogen sources, potential nutrient limitations and other physical and chemical parameters such as oxygen, temperature and pH. Recent studies have also focused on in situ production from renewable substrates, resulting in the so-called new generation of biosurfactants production, as well as metabolic engineering strategies and strain improvements to enhance the metabolic fluxes towards the biosurfactant product.

Among the biological surfactants, rhamnolipids reportedly have a good chance of being adopted by the industry as a new class of renewable resource-based surfactants. Strain-engineering may be a promising strategy to improve manufacturing output, and the production by recombinant and non-pathogenic strains has been shown as possible and favourable. Rhamnolipids have been the focus of many studies and are the better characterized biosurfactants in terms of production, metabolic pathways and gene regulation. Several bacterial species have been reported to produce the glycolipidic biosurfactants and rhamnolipids. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, high carbon to nitrogen ratio, exhaustion of nitrogen source, stress conditions and high cell densities are among the conditions that favour higher levels of production. Rhamnolipids production in bacterium is tightly controlled by multiple layers of gene regulation that respond to a wide variety of environmental and physiologic signals, and are capable of combining different signals to generate unique and specific responses.

Some biosurfactants, such as rhamnolipid are virulence factors produced under infection process. Therefore, there is a considerable overlapping between the medical and biotechnological research, in terms of understanding its production by P. aeruginosa. However, most of the current research publications are still controlled by paid journals, which make the diffusion of knowledge expensive and not accessible to everyone. Moreover, most researches are carried out using public funds, but the output is not freely available to the taxpayers. Open access journals are emerging as solution for both knowledge diffusion and free access to the public. In this relatively new publication model, the authors are charged a publication fee after the approval of their work and the accepted manuscript is made public available with no further cost. It is a fair system with no affect on the quality of the manuscript, since all manuscripts are peer-reviewed by high quality researches in the field of the publication.

The OMICS Group is an Open access publication model with some special features that make its publication more user-friendly, easily disseminated and fast review/publication process. The articles can be downloaded to mobile devices as an E-book or the user can listen to the articles instead, both features make the access to the research more pleasant and comfortable. The established publication language is english; however, if the user wants to read the articles in their native language, then OMICS Group makes it possible with its websitetranslation. The social networks have emerged as a powerful tool for dissemination of knowledge and to promote research findings, and this Open access group allows the user to easily share articles in various social networking sites. Moreover, the review process is as short as 21 days and the publication goes online within 7 days of acceptance. This is possible due to the high number of editors and reviewers, which increases the turnover time and assures a high quality review.

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