Given the commercial appeal of environmentally-friendly raw materials, biosurfactants are becoming increasingly popular among the product development community. That’s according to a recent article from Inform, a publication of the American Oil Chemists’ Society. Biosurfactants are produced by a variety of microorganisms and are categorized based on their molecular weight and chemical properties.
Glycolipids are a class of compounds that are representative of low-molecular-weight biosurfactants. Rhamnolipids are glycolipids produced by bacteria, most notably the Pseudomonas species. In their excellent article “Microbial production of biosurfactants and their importance,” Karanth, Deo and Veenanadig list the microorganism source of various surfactants. The authors also provide the reader with a generous list of references on the topic.
In addition to being surface-active agents, rhamnolipids are purported to have anti-aging and anti-microbial properties that are useful in the cosmetic industry. However, their utility extends beyond personal care, having been documented to provide benefits in industries such as agriculture and oil recovery. Despite their potential, large-scale, cost-effective commercialization of rhamnolipids remains a challenge today. This is primarily due to the high manufacturing costs driven by the multi-step purification process. Given the recent advances in synthetic production, the outlook is bright for the widespread availability of these materials in the future.
A full discourse on this topic can be found in the April 2015 issue of the AOCS magazine Inform.
The views, opinions and technical analyses presented here are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of UL, ULProspector.com or Knowledge.ULProspector.com. While the editors of this site make every effort to verify the accuracy of its content, we assume no responsibility for errors made by the author, editorial staff or any other contributor. All content is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior authorization from Prospector.