News International Sugar Journal

Biobased surfactants via yeasts [Registered]

Surfactants, wetting agents that lower a liquid’s surface tension, have a long list of uses-from detergents and cosmetics to paints and pesticide formulations. Annually, about 10 million tons of surfactants are produced; most of these are petroleum based. Scientists at the US Agricultural Research Service in Peoria, Illinois have begun focusing on the properties of sophorolipids, surfactant-like molecules produced by naturally occurring yeasts. Starmerella has been identified by microbiologist Cletus Kurtzman and colleagues as the lead candidate in the production of sophorolipids. Using phylogenetic analysis and mass-spectrometry, the team screened 19 of the 40 known Starmerella members for their ability…

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