The influence of surface active compounds synthesized by microorganisms on the environment – an overview
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Biosurfactants are surface-active molecules produced by variety of microorganisms like bacteria, yeasts or fungi. They consist of both hydrophilic (polar head) and hydrophobic (non-polar chain) moiety. Such structure allows them to reduce interfacial tension or create microemulsions. Biosurfactants can be produced as a part of cell membrane or extracellular compounds. They show foaming, wetting, emulsifying and dispersing properties. Biosurfactants are characterized by low toxicity, high biodegradability and they do not accumulate in living organisms. Biosurfactants are mostly used in environmental clean-up technologies. However due to many properties biosurfactants find use in various industries, such as: petroleum, pharmaceutical, textile or cosmetic. Microbial surface active compounds can improve the degradation of hydrocarbons from soil and water. Besides they are capable of degrading polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Biosurfactants help removing heavy metals like lead, cadmium or zinc, from soil. Rhamnolipids synthesized by bacteria of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa are the most commonly used biosurfactants in the remediation process. The aim of this paper is to present different applications of biosurfactants in environmental remediation based on literature review. The paper is based on literature studies.
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