Extractive fermentation using aqueous biphasic systems (ABS) is a promising separation process since it provides a nondenaturing environment for biomolecules and improves the stability of cells. Due to environmental concerns and toxicity issues related with common volatile organic solvents, ionic liquids (ILs), a new class of nonvolatile alternative solvents, are being currently investigated for extraction purposes. In this work, a wide range of imidazolium-based ILs was studied aiming at obtaining new insights regarding their ability toward the formation of ABS and their capacity to the extraction of biomolecules. On the basis of the IL cations 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium, the IL anion influence on ABS formation was assessed through their combination with chloride, bromide, acetate, hydrogensulfate, methanesulfonate, methylsulfate, ethylsulfate, trifluomethanesulfonate, trifluoroacetate, and dicyanamide. Ternary phase diagrams (and respective tic-lines) formed by these hydrophilic ILs, water, and the inorganic salt K3PO4, were measured and are reported. The results indicate that the ability of an IL to induce ABS closely follows the decrease in the hydrogen bond accepting strength or the increase in the hydrogen bond acidity of the IL anion. In addition, the extraction capacity of the studied ABS was evaluated through their application to the extraction of an essential amino acid, L-tryptophan. It is shown that the partition coefficients obtained between the IL and the K3PO4-aqueous rich phases were substantially larger than those typically obtained with polymers-inorganic salts or polymers-polysaccharides aqueous systems.