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Project @ a Glance

  • Biosurfactants are surface-active substances synthesised by living cells. They have the properties of reducing surface tension, stabilising emulsions, promoting foaming and are generally non-toxic and biodegradable. Biosurfactants enhance the emulsification of hydrocarbons, have the potential to solubilise hydrocarbon contaminants and increase their availability for microbial degradation. Biosurfactant producing microorganisms may play an important role in the accelerated bioremediation of hydrocarbon contaminated sites
  • The water-soluble derivatives with low degree of esterification represent novel anionic polymeric biosurfactants exhibiting emulsifying ability for oil/water type emulsions as well as good performance properties. Rhamnolipid biosurfactants are alternatives to common surfactants such as nonylphenol ethoxylate, which has come under scrutiny for its potential environmental toxicity.


  • Biosurfactants are surface active substances derived from living organisms, mainly from microorganisms. At present biosurfactants are readily bio- degradable and can be produced from renewable and cheaper substrates, they might be able to replace their chemically synthesized counter parts. Among the heterogeneous group of biosurfactants, the rhamnose-containing glycolipids produced by Pseudomonas.
  • Various types of biosurfactant are synthesized by a number of microbes particularly during their growth on water-immiscible substrates. A majority of biosurfactants are produced by bacteria.Biosurfactant produced from water insoluble substrates such as used oils reduced the surface tension of water to below 29 dynes/cm. The biosurfactant was produced during the growth phase. The produced biosurfactant increased the apparent solubility of naphthalene from 32 to over 500 mg/L.


  • Soil washing with biosurfactants reduces soil cleaning time more than 3 times. 80 80-90 % of washed out oil can be re reused used. Only complex soil cleaning technologies can be used as effective, short short-term and multipurpose. Soil polluted by high concentration of oil can not be cleaned using biological soil cleaning methods.
  • Biosurfactant technology can be an effective and nondestructive method for bioremediation of cadmium and lead contaminated soil. A technology for production of biosurfactants with moisturizing properties equivalent to those of natural ceramides is established using yeast cells and vegetable oils. The developed technology reduces production costs to one tenth of natural ceramide products.


  • Most of the biosurfactants are high molecular weight lipid complexes which are normally produced under highly aerobic conditions. This is achievable in their ex-situ production in aerated bioreactors. When their large scale application in petroleum and soil is encountered, their in-situ production (and action) would be advantageous.
  • Flavobacterium sp. Flavolipid represents an entirely new class of biosurfactants. Some believes that this new class of biosurfactants will be of interest for potential use in a wide variety of industrial and biotechnology applications. At present, bioremediation enhanced processes, using bio-surfactants, have relied on the direct introduction of biosurfactants into the contaminated site.

Market & Report

  • Biosurfactant producers constituted between 10– 35 % of the aerobic heterotrophic bacterial population. The majority of the Ft. Lupton and Tall Grass Prairie samples had biosurfactant-producing populations at approximately 1 %. Tulsa Rose Garden soils have a higher percentage of biosurfactant producers over the Ft. Lupton and Tall Grass Prairie soils. The fraction of biosurfactant producers was three times the level in the RST soil than in the Tulsa Rose Garden soil
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has considered rhamnolipid biosurfactant in light of the relevant safety factors in the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996 and under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and has not identified any dietary or non-dietary exposure issues that may affect the U.S. population in general, including infants and children.
  • International Access Corporation (IAC) in association with the Center for International Science and Technology Policy (CISTP) at the George Washington University has undertaken a comprehensive analysis of three important fields within the U.S. biotechnology industry: tissue engineering, bio-related devices, and advanced bio-processes.
  • The Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), is now a globally known organization with an annual budget of more than Rs 1,100 lakhs. Recently accredited with ISO-9001 standard by Det Norske Veritas, an international certification body based in The Netherlands and working jointly with several multinational giants, IIP has transferred its technologies to some 28 companies countrywide. The institute employs around 600 scientific and technical people who are working on some 100 projects each year.
  • IIP has so far developed more than a dozen catalysts out of which several have been commercialized. The institute’s success with state-of-the-art bimetallic Pt-Re reforming catalyst (semiregenerative) has already become something of a legend.

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