Screening the APPLIcation potential of a yeast-based bioSURFactant portfolio

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More information:


In the press, 12.06.2020: New biosurfactants are greener than ever (Agro & Chemistry Magazine)
In de pers, 12.06.2020: Nieuwe biosufactanten zijn groener dan ooit (Agro & Chemie Magazine)


Application fields of biosurfactants

Application fields of biosurfactants

Surfactants are performance molecules that intervene in nearly every product and aspect of human daily life with a global turnover of $ 31 billion in 2016. Despite the efforts to move towards a bio-based economy, only 4 % of the surfactant market is 100 % bio-based (e.g. APGs and MESs). An even smaller part (<0.1 %) of the market is not only 100 % bio-based, but also produced through biological processes, such as microbial, plant-based and/or enzymatic processes. Although a lot of companies are striving towards such sustainable solutions, current limitations blocking valorisation of such technologies can be mainly defined as 1. higher production costs and 2. limited structural variability and thus a lack of physicochemical (and biological) properties.


In AppliSurf a combination of genetic modification, fermentation development/optimization and green chemistry will be applied to enable commercial production at an acceptable cost of an innovative and broad portfolio of biosurfactant structures. The unique properties of these ‘new-to-market’ biosurfactants will be identified by high throughput screening for industrially relevant properties (foaming, emulsification, wetting, gelling, antimicrobial properties, etc.). Subsequent structure-function modeling of this family of compounds will enable the prediction of the properties of compounds not included in the screen. The latter will maximize the output of the project, also after the projects’ end. Scale-up of the optimized production processes will generate samples for in-house evaluation by the interested industrial members of the user group.

This project fits into a portfolio of projects focussing on process development and scale-up of new biosurfactants. Contact Dr. Sophie Roelants to find out more.

JOIN the Industry User Group of this project

The project partners are looking for companies that wish to be involved in the user group of this VIS project. The primary role of companies during the implementation phase is:

  • to provide input about relevant industrial properties/characteristics to be included in the HT screen;
  • to assist the research from an economic point of view;
  • to assist in preparing the translation of the results into concrete economic applications.

During the project execution, companies may contribute as member of the advisory committee in:

  • a passive way i.e. first access to research results about the property characterization and modelling of the innovative biosurfactant portfolio.
  • a more actively involved way and receive samples of the most promising compounds for their market/applications for in-house evaluation against a fee.

These last R&D activities are not part of the VIS project. Companies may explore the possibility of obtaining funding for these activities from the Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The advisory committee is open to all interested companies, including companies established outside the Flemish region. Interested companies can contact Dr. Sophie Roelants.

ACTIVITIES of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant

  • Fermentation and purification for the generation of biosurfactant samples.
  • Reduction of the process cost through process optimization. This task will rely on previously generated expertise in (inter)national research projects (Biosurfing, IB2M, Stabosurf, Carbosurf).
  • The scale-up of fermentation, purification and green chemical derivatization into a broad molecular product portfolio. The biosurfactant (derivatives) will as such be produced by BBEPP in sufficient quantities (100 g to kg quantities) enabling characterization and application tests by both the Applisurf team and the various companies.