Background Starmerella bombolica
Starmerella bombicola is a non-pathonic yeast that was first isolated from the honey of the bumblebee. This yeast produces large amounts of the biosurfactant sophorolipids, which is generally a mixture of lactonic and acidic sophorolipids. These natural molecules already found their way to the market (e.g. ecological cleaning products of Ecover, Saraya...)
The lab of Professor Soetaert (UGent) generated new S. bombicola yeast strains to broaden up the spectrum of biosurfactant production with S. bombicola, but also generate strains that selectively produce one type of molecule (e.g. either lactonic or either acidic SLs) instead of the wild type mixture, for which the ratios can vary from batch to batch. Proof of concept was delivered and IP on the new strains was generated. After strain development, attention was given to process development (fermentation and purification) and scale up (BBEPP). This enabled the generation of large ‘sample’ amounts (multi kg scale) of the (new-to-nature) biosurfactants for which the potential applications can now be investigated.
Possible field of application: agro (formulation and/or active), pharma (idem), cosmetics (idem), medical applications, food (packaging and food preparation), soil remediation, enhanced oil receovery, textile industry...