1, naturally occurring glycolipids produced
2, function as a natural surfactant, emulsifier, foaming agent, fungicide, antibiot
Rhamnolipids are naturally occurring glycolipids produced commercially by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa species of bacteria. There are both mono-rhamnolipids and di-rhamnolipids. Containing only carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, they are a combination of one or two rhamnose sugars and fatty acids. Rhamnolipids function as a natural surfactant, emulsifier, foaming agent, fungicide, antibiotic, and anionic complexation agent. In a pure dry form, rhamnolipids are a white powder. In an aqueous solution they may range from clear to milky white or tan in color.
Surfactants are in demand for a wide range of industrial applications as they increase solubility, foaming capacity and lower surface tensions. In particular, rhamnolipids have been used broadly in the cosmetic industry for products such as moisturisers, toothpaste, condom lubricant and shampoo. Rhamnolipids are efficacious in bioremediation of organic and heavy metal polluted sites.They also facilitate degradation of waste hydrocarbons such as crude oil and vegetable oil by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The rhamnolipid surfactant itself is valuable in the cosmetic industry, and rhamnolipids are a source of rhamnose, which is an expensive sugar in itself.