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Development of characterization process of rhamnolipids: exploring the effects of hydrophilic and hydrophobic balance in its composition for use in cosmetic industry


Rhamnolipids (RLs) are biosurfactants produced by some bacteria, especially Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Its structure consists of a glycolipid or two molecules of rhamnose in combination with hydrxyalcanoic acid (3-hydroxy or 3-HAs). The presence of hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups in the same molecule makes these compounds exhibit surface-active emulsifiers and interesting properties, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. RLs are associated with increased ecological acceptance, biodegradability and low toxicity, thus they are very attractive to use in chemical, food, pharmaceutical and mainly cosmetic products. The cosmetic industry uses large amounts of surfactants to a variety of products, including antacids, hair dyes, deodorants, nail polish, lipstick, eye shadow, mascara, cleansers prostheses, lubricated condoms, baby products and hair removal products. Despite the advantages presented, the high cost of production, associated with low productivity and the use of expensive raw materials has impaired the establishment of these compounds on the market. To facilitate industrial development of production RLs, the use of alternative carbon sources, such as agro-industrial and urban waste, has been an important strategy. However, in the literature there is a lack of works showing efficient forms of production process to controll RL composition, especially as regards the assessment of the balance between the hydrophilic and hydrophobic portions of the molecule, since biosurfactants properties are directly related to this balance. In this context, the aim of this project is to establish one or more rhamnolipids production processes to generate biosurfactants containing different compositions, aiming cosmetic application. For this, we seek to standardize the growing conditions and better understand the metabolism of the target microorganism, in order to achieve higher yields and productivity. It is proposed, therefore, to evaluate the production of RLs by isolated strain Pseudomonas using vegetable oils as carbon sources focused on the incorporation of greater amounts of 3-HAs containing unsaturations, and characterization the obtained RLs and evaluate their properties. This project will be developed in partnership with the Laboratory of Bioproducts, at the Biomedical Sciences Institute, University of São Paulo (USP), which has a team of experienced researchers in microbial metabolism area and production of bioproducts. Besides that, these laboratory presents promising results of RL production by isolates Pseudomonas spp. using a range of substrates. Based on these results, tests will be conducted in bioreactors experiments in order to generate information about the target strain metabolism, studying quantification of substrates, products of its metabolism. This information, combined with metabolic fluxes analysis will be essential to know how to control the RLs composition, furthermore it will allow to synthesize tailored RLs relating the metabolic pathways with the supplied raw materials. This analysis will also indicate those that carbon carbon source tested would lead to greater efficiency in the production of these compounds. In parallel, the possible applications tests will be performed in cosmetic products. (AU)

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