Approximately 80% of the Earth’s biosphere is cold at an average temperature of 5ºC and is populated by a diversity of microorganisms that are a precious source of molecules with high biotechnological potential. Biosurfactants from psychrophiles can interact with multiple physical phases - water, ice, hydrophobic compounds and gases - at low and freezing temperatures, and be of use in sustainable (green) and low energy-impact (cold) products and processes. In this review we provide an overview of the biodiversity of microbial biosurfactants produced in cold habitats and a perspective on the most promising future applications in environmental and industrial technologies. Finally, we encourage the search of the cryosphere for novel types of biosurfactants via both culture screening and functional metagenomics.
- cold-active detergents
- low temperature