Lipopeptides produced by microorganisms are one of the five major classes of biosurfactants known and they have received much attention from scientific and industrial communities due to their powerful interfacial and biological activities as well as environmentally friendly characteristics. Microbially produced lipopeptides are a series of chemical structural analogues of different families and, among them, 26 families covering about 90 lipopeptide compounds have been reported in the last two decades. This paper reviews the chemical structural characteristics and molecular behaviors of surfactin, one of the representative lipopeptides of the 26 families. In particular, two novel surfactin molecules isolated from cell-free cultures of Bacillus subtilis HSO121 are presented. Surfactins exhibit strong self-assembly ability to form sphere-like micelles and larger aggregates at very low concentrations. The amphipathic and surface properties of surfactins are related to the existence of the minor polar and major hydrophobic domains in the three 3-D conformations. In addition, the application potential of surfactin in bioremediation of oil spills and oil contaminants, and microbial enhanced oil recovery are discussed.