As a result of global industrialization and increasing population there has been an alarming increase in the global demands for energy which is being fulfilled by exploiting various natural resources significantly hydrocarbons. As a result enormous amounts of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon-based products have been released into the environment, threatening health and sustainability of the ecosystem. These different types of hydrocarbon-contaminated environments vary in their microbial composition and serve as an excellent reservoir of microbial flora, with a potential to degrade hydrocarbons and produce biosurfactants. In this chapter, an overview of biosurfactant-producing microorganisms from hydrocarbon-contaminated environments and their role in utilisation and degradation of hydrocarbon compounds is presented. Micro-organisms growing in hydrocarbon-rich environments undergo many adaptations, such as production of biosurfactants, which increases access to these hydrophobic substrates. Industrially, biosurfactants, which constitute as a group of surface-active amphiphilic compounds, are of great significance as they are biodegradable and nontoxic compared to synthetic chemical surfactants. Thus, biosurfactants have found wide applications and are used in bioremediation, oil exploration and enhanced recovery, health care, oil and food processing industries.
|Title of host publication||Biodegradation and Bioconversion of Hydrocarbons|
|Number of pages||0|
|Publication status||Published - 11 Nov 2016|