Production and characterization of biosurfactant from renewable sources. Biosurfactant production was carried out in 3-l fermentor using waste motor lubricant oil and peanut oil cake. Maximum biomass (9.8 mg ml(-l)) and biosurfactant production (6.4 mg ml(-l)) occurred with peanut oil cake at 120 and 132 h, respectively. Chemical characterization of the biosurfactant revealed that it is a glycolipopeptide with chemical composition of carbohydrate (40%), lipid (27%) and protein (29%). The biosurfactant is able to emulsify waste motor lubricant oil, crude oil, peanut oil, kerosene, diesel, xylene, naphthalene and anthracene; the emulsification activity was comparatively higher than the activity found with Triton X-100. This study indicates the possibility of biosurfactant production using renewable, relatively inexpensive and easily available resources like waste motor lubricant oil and peanut oil cake. Emulsification activity found with the biosurfactant against different hydrocarbons showed the possibility of the application of biosurfactants against diverse hydrocarbon pollution. The data obtained from the study could be useful for large-scale biosurfactant production using economically cheaper substrates. Information obtained in emulsification activity and laboratory-scale experiment on bioremediation inferred that bioremediation of hydrocarbon-polluted sites may be treated with biosurfactants or the bacteria that produces it.