New sustainable alternatives to reduce the production costs for surfactin 50 years after the discovery

  • Aline Wasem Zanotto
  • Alexsandra Valério
  • Cristino José de AndradeEmail author
  • Gláucia Maria Pastore


In 1968, Arima et al. discovered the heptapeptide, known as surfactin, which belongs to a family of lipopeptides. Known for its ability to reduce surface tension, it also has biological activities such as antimicrobial and antiviral. Its non-ribosomal synthesis mechanism was later discovered (1991). Lipopeptides represent an important class of surfactants, which can be applied in many industrial sectors such as food, pharmaceutical, agrochemicals, detergents, and cleaning products. Currently, 75% of the surfactants used in the various industrial sectors are from the petrochemical industry. Nevertheless, there are global current demands (green chemistry concept) to replace the petrochemical products with environmentally friendly products, such as surfactants by biosurfactants. The production biosurfactants still are costly. Thus, an alternative to reduce the production costs is using agro-industrial waste as a culture medium associated with an efficient and scalable purification process. This review puts a light on the agro-industrial residues used to produce surfactin and the techniques used for its recovery.


Surfactin production Agro-industrial residue and surfactin purification Ultrafiltration 



This study was supported by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) – Finance Code 001.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food Science, Faculty of Food EngineeringUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Chemical Engineering & Food EngineeringFederal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil

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