Surfactants are important substances for the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. Although the most currently used surfactants are derived from petroleum, a sustainable alternative is based on production from vegetable oils or from microbial growth (biosurfactants). Even if biosurfactant production in a wide scale is not economically viable, it is possible to induce microbial growth and biosurfactant production using growth media based on cheap substrates, such as residues from agriculture or food industries. In addition, production is effectively cheaper if more than one biotechnological product can be extracted from a single process. Taking into account that biosurfactants produced by Bacillus subtilis are excreted into the growth medium, a great quantity of microbial biomass, containing lipids and proteins, which correspond to extra raw material that can be recycled, for instance, to compose a medium or for additional applications. For example, considering the lipids that are also present in the biomass, another important application would be for synthesis of biodiesel, an alternative that is currently been used mainly from the biomass of microalgae. Therefore, taking into consideration the importance of biosurfactants for chemical processes and for bioremediation; the importance of microbial biomass as a source of bio-oil and several other bio-products; the potential of these residues for the synthesis of biodiesel and of new surfactants, using amino acids and fatty acids that are present in the biomass; the potential to recycle side products from the synthesis of biodiesel, from food production and from microbial growth; we present this project with the aim to determine the best growth conditions for B. subtilis in a sustainable way, aiming at the production of biomass and biosurfactant synthesis.
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