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Microbial derived biosurfactants: focus on sophorolipids
Speaker Name
Prof. Dr. Ir. Inge N.A. Van Bogaert
Speaker Detail

Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium

B5-310, 5/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Organizer: School of Energy and Environment
City University of Hong Kong


Already in the ‘40s and ‘60s of the past century several microorganisms were discovered to be producers of biological detergents. In the past decades, interest in these ‘biosurfactants’ was reinforced due to the growing environmental awareness and the quest for greener alternatives to the traditional petrochemical derived surfactants. Indeed, biosurfactants display low toxicity, good biodegradability and are made from renewable resources under mild conditions.

One of the most promising biosurfactants are the sophorolipids produced by the yeast Starmerella bombicola. These compounds are currently commercialized by several companies and find multiple applications. By unraveling the genome and the sophorolipid synthesis pathway, we could transform the yeast into a platform for the production of new biological detergents with altered applications. In this way, biosurfactants can form a broader and customized alternative to traditional products.

About the Speaker

Inge Van Bogaert is a Tenure Track Professor at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium and is a member of the Centre for Synthetic Biology where she is the group leader of the BioPort Team.

She focusses on the applied aspects of microbiology with topics such as biosurfactants, fatty acid modification and unconventional yeasts. Recently, she initiated a research line on the emerging topic of transport over biological membranes.