Biosurfactants: Evolution and diversity in bacteria

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98 Scopus citations


In summary, biosurfactants are an example of a class of microbial natural products that has coevolved among many genera. But whereas the biosurfactants produced in the bacterial and archaeal domains are convergent in function (suggesting that they are very important), they have developed in parallel with respect to genotype and phenotype (the surfactants are not related genetically or in terms of molecular structure). Because of this parallel evolution, currently available molecular screening techniques are of little use for the discovery of new biosurfactants. Development of such techniques will continue to be problematic because there is no relationship between the surfactants produced by different microbial genera and even species. Yet, the potential for application of biosurfactants and other natural products is great due to growing demand for biodegradable and environmentally friendly analogues for synthetic chemicals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-121
Number of pages21
JournalAdvances in Applied Microbiology
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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