Microbial biosurfactants are surface active molecules having hydrophilic and hydrophobic moieties as their constituents which allow them to interact at interfaces and reduce the surface tension. Biosurfactants produced by bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes may be classified into two major groups based on their molecular weight, i) low and ii) high molecular weight biosurfactants, or based on their chemical composition as fatty acids, glycolipids, glycolipopeptides, glycoproteins, lipopeptides, phospholipids, polymeric and particulate biosurfactants. The chemical diversity of biosurfactants makes them a potential source for green chemicals having applications in industrial, environmental (agricultural and bioremediation), and medical fields. Especially, their properties such as, antimicrobial, emulsification, dispersion, and wetting makes these molecules as alternate green chemicals that can be used in place of existing toxic chemicals that are in practice. In addition, biosurfactants have been receiving increasing attention due to their unique properties such as low toxicity, biodegradability and biological activities as compared to chemically synthesized counterparts from an environmental safety point of view.
Last date updated on June, 2014