Biosurfactants in improving bioremediation effectiveness in environmental contamination by hydrocarbons
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Recent biotechnological advances currently evidence new surfactant production technologies. Biocompounds produced by fermentative processes appeared as an economic and sustainable alternative to many synthetic molecules. Thereby, biosurfactants have become a promising substitute due to their synthesis potential by a wide variety of microorganisms. Biosurfactants are a highly diverse group of structures, such as glycolipids, lipopeptides, polysaccharide-protein complexes, phospholipids, fatty acids, and neutral lipids. This diversity promotes many advantages compared to synthetic surfactants, thus making biosurfactants the most natural choice for technological advances associated with sustainable development. Such advantages include fermentative production viability by using renewable resources, effectiveness in small concentrations even under extreme conditions, selective and specific potential for several applications, lower toxicity, higher biodegradability, and better stability to physicochemical variations. Despite their benefits, biosurfactants are not widely used because of the high production costs. Hence, cost-effective substrates, optimized cultivation conditions, and mutant lineage development are imperative to make these biomolecules an economically competitive product to propose a widespread replacement of synthetic surfactants.
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