Structure and Characterization of Flavolipids, a Novel Class of Biosurfactants Produced by Flavobacterium sp. Strain MTN11

Adria A. Bodour, Claudia Guerrero-Barajas, Beth V. Jiorle, Mark E. Malcomson, Amanda K. Paull, Arpad Somogyi, Long N. Trinh, Robert B. Bates, Raina M. Maier

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84 Scopus citations


Herein we report the structure and selected properties of a new class of biosurfactants that we have named the flavolipids. The flavolipids exhibit a unique polar moiety that features citric acid and two cadaverine molecules. Flavolipids were produced by a soil isolate, Flavobacterium sp. strain MTN11 (accession number AY162137), during growth in mineral salts medium, with 2% glucose as the sole carbon and energy source. MTN11 produced a mixture of at least 37 flavolipids ranging from 584 to 686 in molecular weight (MW). The structure of the major component (23%; MW = 668) was determined to be 4-[[5-(7-methyl-(E)-2-octenoylhydroxyamino)pentyl]amino]-2-[2-[[5-(7-methyl-(E) -2-octenoylhydroxyamino)pentyl]amino]-2-oxoethyl]-2-hydroxy-4-oxobutanoic acid. The partially purified flavolipid mixture isolated from strain MTN11 exhibited a critical micelle concentration of 300 mg/liter and reduced surface tension to 26.0 mN/m, indicating strong surfactant activity. The flavolipid mixture was a strong and stable emulsifier even at concentrations as low as 19 mg/liter. It was also an effective solubilizing agent, and in a biodegradation study, it enhanced hexadecane mineralization by two isolates, MTN11 (100-fold) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 9027 (2.5-fold), over an 8-day period. The flavolipid-cadmium stability constant was measured to be 3.61, which is comparable to that for organic ligands such as oxalic acid and acetic acid. In summary, the flavolipids represent a new class of biosurfactants that have potential for use in a variety of biotechnological and industrial applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-120
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

Cite this

Bodour, A. A., Guerrero-Barajas, C., Jiorle, B. V., Malcomson, M. E., Paull, A. K., Somogyi, A., Trinh, L. N., Bates, R. B., & Maier, R. M. (2004). Structure and Characterization of Flavolipids, a Novel Class of Biosurfactants Produced by Flavobacterium sp. Strain MTN11. Applied and environmental microbiology, 70(1), 114-120.