Recent advances and discoveries of microbial-based glycolipids: Prospective alternative for remediation activities: Biotechnology Advances

Y.J. Ng, S. S. Chan, K.S. Khoo, H.S.H. Munawaroh, H.R. Lim, K.W. Chew, T.C. Ling, A. Saravanan, Z. Ma, P.L. Show

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Surfactants have always been a prominent chemical that is useful in various sectors (e.g., cleaning agent production industry, textile industry and painting industry). This is due to the special ability of surfactants to reduce surface tension between two fluid surfaces (e.g., water and oil). However, the current society has long omitted the harmful effects of petroleum-based surfactants (e.g., health issues towards humans and reducing cleaning ability of water bodies) due to their usefulness in reducing surface tension. These harmful effects will significantly damage the environment and negatively affect human health. As such, there is an urgency to secure environmentally friendly alternatives such as glycolipids to reduce the effects of these synthetic surfactants. Glycolipids is a biomolecule that shares similar properties with surfactants that are naturally synthesized in the cell of living organisms, glycolipids are amphiphilic in nature and can form micelles when glycolipid molecules clump together, reducing surface tension between two surfaces as how a surfactant molecule is able to achieve. This review paper aims to provide a comprehensive study on the recent advances in bacteria cultivation for glycolipids production and current lab scale applications of glycolipids (e.g., medical and waste bioremediation). Studies have proven that glycolipids are effective anti-microbial agents, subsequently leading to an excellent anti-biofilm forming agent. Heavy metal and hydrocarbon contaminated soil can also be bioremediated via the use of glycolipids. The major hurdle in the commercialization of glycolipid production is that the cultivation stage and downstream extraction stage of the glycolipid production process induces a very high operating cost. This review provides several solutions to overcome this issue for glycolipid production for the commercialization of glycolipids (e.g., developing new cultivating and extraction techniques, using waste as cultivation medium for microbes and identifying new strains for glycolipid production). The contribution of this review aims to serve as a future guideline for researchers that are dealing with glycolipid biosurfactants by providing an in-depth review on the recent advances of glycolipid biosurfactants. By summarizing the points discussed as above, it is recommended that glycolipids can substitute synthetic surfactants as an environmentally friendly alternative. © 2023
Original languageBritish English
JournalBiotechnol. Adv.
StatePublished - 2023


  • Bioremediation
  • Biosurfactants
  • Glycolipid
  • Medical
  • Microbial enhanced oil recovery
  • Rhamnolipid
  • Sophorolipids
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Glycolipids
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Water
  • Bacteria
  • Biomolecules
  • Biotechnology
  • Enhanced recovery
  • Extraction
  • Heavy metals
  • Micelles
  • Molecules
  • Soil pollution
  • Surface tension
  • Synthesis (chemical)
  • Textile industry
  • Wetting
  • glycolipid
  • surfactant
  • water
  • 'current
  • Bio-surfactants
  • Enhanced-oil recoveries
  • Environmentally friendly alternatives
  • Glyco lipids
  • Harmful effects
  • Rhamnolipids
  • bioremediation
  • commercialization
  • lipid
  • microbial activity
  • surface tension
  • waste
  • chemistry
  • human
  • metabolism
  • prospective study
  • Surface active agents


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