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Biosurfactants as a Novel Additive in Pharmaceutical Formulations: Current Trends and Future Implications

[ Vol. 21 , Issue. 11 ]


Shubham Thakur, Amrinder Singh, Ritika Sharma, Rohan Aurora and Subheet Kumar Jain*   Pages 885 - 901 ( 17 )


Background: Surfactants are an important category of additives that are used widely in most of the formulations as solubilizers, stabilizers, and emulsifiers. Current drug delivery systems comprise of numerous synthetic surfactants (such as Cremophor EL, polysorbate 80, Transcutol-P), which are associated with several side effects though used in many formulations. Therefore, to attenuate the problems associated with conventional surfactants, a new generation of surface-active agents is obtained from the metabolites of fungi, yeast, and bacteria, which are termed as biosurfactants.

Objectives: In this article, we critically analyze the different types of biosurfactants, their origin along with their chemical and physical properties, advantages, drawbacks, regulatory status, and detailed pharmaceutical applications.

Methods: 243 papers were reviewed and included in this review.

Results: Briefly, Biosurfactants are classified as glycolipids, rhamnolipids, sophorolipids, trehalolipids, surfactin, lipopeptides & lipoproteins, lichenysin, fatty acids, phospholipids, and polymeric biosurfactants. These are amphiphilic biomolecules with lipophilic and hydrophilic ends and are used as drug delivery vehicles (foaming, solubilizer, detergent, and emulsifier) in the pharmaceutical industry. Despite additives, they have some biological activity as well (anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-microbial, P-gp inhibition, etc.). These biomolecules possess better safety profiles and are biocompatible, biodegradable, and specific at different temperatures.

Conclusion: Biosurfactants exhibit good biomedicine and additive properties that can be used in developing novel drug delivery systems. However, more research should be driven due to the lack of comprehensive toxicity testing and high production cost which limits their use.


Biosurfactants, regulatory status, lipopeptides, glycolipids, cremophor EL, transcutol-P.


Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 143005, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 143005, Sri Sai College of Pharmacy, Badhani, Pathankot, 145001, The International School Bangalore, Karnataka, 562125, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 143005

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