Downstream processing of microbially derived biosurfactants using supercritical CO2


The proposal is to develop a commercially viable downstream process using the green solvent Supercritical CO2 (ScCO2) as a means to separate and fractionate glycolipid based biosurfactants from their production medium. In turn this will move current processes from an environmentally and economically costly process, based upon the use of highly flammable solvent extraction, to that of a more economical and environmentally sustainable process. To date It has been demonstrated, on a small scale, that ScCO2 can be used to fractionate glycolipid / triglyceride solutions to a far greater extent that current processes with practically zero waste owing to the ability of the technique to isolate all components. If successful this project will develop a highly innovative process capability, at the commercial scale, that to date has not been applied to the isolation of biologically generated materials.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer



Unilever U.K. Central Resources Limited, Bedford


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