Microbial conversion of waste and surplus materials into high-value added products: The case of biosurfactants

Constantina Kourmentza, Filomena Freitas, Vitor Alves, Maria A.M. Reis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Citations (Scopus)


During the last decades, researchers have been focusing on the development of economically viable bioprocesses, in order to produce fine and platform chemicals and polymers that will eventually replace the ones deriving from the petrochemical industries. Waste and surplus materials are inexpensive raw materials that do not directly compete with food, while their utilization maximizes the efficiency of the overall production process. Microbial conversion of such materials, deriving from various industrial processes, into biosurfactants is considered beneficial from a societal, environmental, and economic point of view since it contributes toward environmental protection, sustainability, and reduction of costs. Biosurfactants produced by bacteria may eventually replace synthetic surfactants due to their biodegradability and environmental compatibility. Interestingly, the diversity of their chemical structures and their complexity provides them unique features. Therefore, they are characterized by remarkable physicochemical properties so their potential industrial applications are quite diverse as they can be used as emulsifiers, de-emulsifiers, wetting, spreading, and foaming agents, functional food ingredients, and detergents in various industrial sectors such as petroleum and petrochemicals, organic chemicals, food and beverages, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, mining and metallurgy, agrochemicals and fertilizers, and environmental control and management.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBioremediation and Bioenergy
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages49
ISBN (Electronic)9783319526669
ISBN (Print)9783319526652
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2017


  • Bioconversion
  • Biosurfactants
  • Properties and applications
  • Renewable substrates
  • Waste valorization

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