Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 13, 2008
Publication Date: April 1, 2009
Citation: Ashby, R.D., Solaiman, D., Zerkowski, J.A. 2009. Production and Modification of Sophorolipids from Agricultural Feedstocks. In Hayes, D.G., Kitamoto, D., Solaiman, D.K.Y. and Ashby, R.D. (eds.) Bio-Based Surfactants and Detergents: Synthesis, Properties and Applications. Urbana, IL:AOCS Press. p. 29-49. Technical Abstract: As petroleum prices and environmental concerns continue to raise, interest in bio-based materials, that may act as substitutes for or additives to currently used products, is becoming increasingly popular. Biosurfactants, particularly glycolipids, are one class of molecule that is receiving added attention because of their high yield potential, large application potential and the minimal growth requirements needed to produce them by fermentation. Sophorolipids (SLs; one type of glycolipid) have been reportedly synthesized in yields of above 400 g/L under the appropriate growth conditions however; studies have shown that the surface-active properties of SLs differ widely based on their chemical make-up which is dictated by the carbon feedstock used for their synthesis. In this chapter we report on the current state of SL biosynthesis including methods to control their chemical structures and surface-active properties through fermentation manipulation and post-synthetic chemical and/or enzymatic modification. In addition, the use of bio-based co-products including crude glycerol from biodiesel production and soy molasses from soybean processing are discussed as carbon substrates for SL biosynthesis and their affects on SL structures clarified.