Journal article Open Access
Cátia V. Gil; Ana Teresa Rebocho; Asiyah Esmail; Chantal Sevrin; Christian Grandfils; Cristiana A. V. Torres; Maria A. M. Reis; Filomena Freitas
Biosurfactants synthesized by microorganisms represent safe and sustainable alternatives to the use of synthetic surfactants, due to their lower toxicity, better biodegradability and biocompatibility, and their production from low-cost feedstocks. In line with this, the present study describes the physical, chemical, and functional characterization of the biopolymer secreted by the bacterium Burkholderia thailandensis DSM 13276, envisaging its validation as a biosurfactant. The biopolymer was found to be a glycolipopeptide with carbohydrate and protein contents of 33.1 ± 6.4% and 23.0 ± 3.2%, respectively. Galactose, glucose, rhamnose, mannose, and glucuronic acid were detected in the carbohydrate moiety at a relative molar ratio of 4:3:2:2:1. It is a high-molecular-weight biopolymer (1.0 × 107 Da) with low polydispersity (1.66), and forms aqueous solutions with shear-thinning behavior, which remained after autoclaving. The biopolymer has demonstrated a good emulsionstabilizing capacity towards different hydrophobic compounds, namely, benzene, almond oil, and sunflower oil. The emulsions prepared with the biosurfactant, as well as with its autoclaved solution, displayed high emulsification activity (>90% and ~50%, respectively). Moreover, the almond and sunflower oil emulsions stabilized with the biosurfactant were stable for up to 4 weeks, which further supports the potential of this novel biopolymer for utilization as a natural bioemulsifier.
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