Biomimetic amphiphiles: Properties and potential use

Center of Advanced Studies in Chemistry, Chemistry Department, Panjab University, Chandigarh 160014, India.
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (Impact Factor: 1.96). 01/2010; 672:102-20. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-5979-9_8
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Surfactants are the amphiphilic molecules that tend to alter the interfacial and surface tension. The fundamental property related to the structure of surfactant molecules is their self-aggregation resulting in the formation of association colloids. Apart from the packing of these molecules into closed structures, the structural network also results in formation of extended bilayers, which are thermodynamically stable and lead to existence of biological membranes and vesicles. From biological point of view the development of new knowledge and techniques in the area of vesicles, bilayers and multiplayer membranes and their polymerizable analogue provide new opportunities for research in the respective area. 'Green Surfactants' or the biologically compatible surfactants are in demand to replace some of the existing surfactants and thereby reduce the environmental impact, in general caused by classic surfactants. In this context, the term 'natural surfactants or biosurfactants' is often used to indicate the natural origin of the surfactant molecules. Most important aspect of biosurfactants is their environmental acceptability, because they are readily biodegradable and have low toxicity than synthetic surfactants. Some of the major applications of biosurfactants in pollution and environmental control are microbial enhanced oil recovery, hydrocarbon degradation, hexa-chloro cyclohexane (HCH) degradation and heavy-metal removal from contaminated soil. In this chapter, we tried to make a hierarchy from vital surfactant molecules toward understanding their behavioral aspects and application potential thereby ending into the higher class of broad spectrum 'biosurfactants'. Pertaining to the budding promise offered by these molecules, the selection of the type and size of each structural moiety enables a delicate balance between surface activity and biological function and this represents the most effective approach of harnessing the power of molecular self-assembly.

14 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Intermediate phases have been identified in some concentrated surfactant-water mixtures between hexagonal and lamellar phases, where usually bicontinuous cubic phases would be expected. It has been shown that they are anisotropic in structure, birefringent and more fluid than bicontinuous cubic phases. There is still discussion in the literature as to which structures are possible. The observed or proposed structures divide topologically into three types, according to symmetry: rectangular or ribbon structures, layered mesh structures and bicontinuous structures. In the past year, structures of mesh phases have been presented together with their epitaxial relationships with adjacent phases.
    Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science 10/1998; 3(5-3):485-492. DOI:10.1016/S1359-0294(98)80022-8 · 5.84 Impact Factor
  • Critical Reviews in Biotechnology 09/2008; 3(2):109-132. DOI:10.3109/07388558509150781 · 7.18 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Microorganisms synthesize a wide variety of high- and low-molecular-mass bioemulsifiers. The low-molecular-mass bioemulsifiers are generally glycolipids, such as trehalose lipids, sophorolipids and rhamnolipids, or lipopeptides, such as surfactin, gramicidin S and polymyxin. The high-molecular-mass bioemulsifiers are amphipathic polysaccharides, proteins, lipopolysaccharides, lipoproteins or complex mixtures of these biopolymers. The low-molecular-mass bioemulsifiers lower surface and interfacial tensions, whereas the higher-molecular-mass bioemulsifiers are more effective at stabilizing oil-in-water emulsions. Three natural roles for bioemulsifiers have been proposed: (i) increasing the surface area of hydrophobic water-insoluble growth substrates; (ii) increasing the bioavailability of hydrophobic substrates by increasing their apparent solubility or desorbing them from surfaces; (iii) regulating the attachment and detachment of microorganisms to and from surfaces. Bioemulsifiers have several important advantages over chemical surfactants, which should allow them to become prominent in industrial and environmental applications. The potential commercial applications of bioemulsifiers include bioremediation of oil-polluted soil and water, enhanced oil recovery, replacement of chlorinated solvents used in cleaning-up oil-contaminated pipes, vessels and machinery, use in the detergent industry, formulations of herbicides and pesticides and formation of stable oil-in-water emulsions for the food and cosmetic industries.
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 09/1999; 52(2):154-62. DOI:10.1007/s002530051502 · 3.34 Impact Factor
Show more