Rational design, properties and applications of biosurfactants: a short review of recent advances
Kang Liu, Yawei Sun, Meiwen Cao, Jiqian Wang*, Jian R. Lu, Hai Xu*
Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science
Publication Date:December 28, 2019
Biosurfactants combine physicochemical properties with biological activities. Whilst biosurfactants are often expressed by microorganisms, an increasing amount is produced by chemical synthesis. As many exist in the form of homologous compounds, it is often difficult to purify biosurfactants. But this has not limited the efforts to develop their commercial applications. In this short review, we have featured the recent advances in three important types of biosurfactants, lipopeptides, nucleolipids and glycolipids. We have focused on comparing some of the key properties and functionalities between modern synthetic versions and their corresponding natural counterparts. We end the review by outlining the needs for not only strengthening their basic structure-property relationships through further research but also developing better technologies, irrespective of direct chemical synthesis or biological synthesis of biosurfactants through constructions of genetically engineered strains, to help advance the commercial use of biosurfactants.