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Biosurfactants and cellulose hydrolysis

McGill University
Publication Date
  • Biology
  • Microbiology.
  • Engineering
  • Chemical.
  • Biology


The action of many antimicrobial agents is dependent on their ability to interact with biological membranes. A group of polypeptide antibiotics was found to have surface activite properties. One of them, gramicidinS, produced a minimum in the surface tension curve, which was attributed to instabilities in the intra-molecular hydrogen bonds. Biosurfactants were found to have a great effect on the two phase hydrolysis of cellulose by cellulase. Seven times as much sugar was produced by the hydrolysis of Sigmacell 100 when the biosurfactant sophorolipid was present. The surfactant affects the adsorption of cellulase onto cellulose, and prevents the cellulase from binding irreversibly to the cellulose and becoming inactive.

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