Sasol Chemicals and Holiferm expand partnership with two additional biosurfactants


In Germany, Sasol Chemicals and biotechnology firm Holiferm have agreed to produce and market two classes of biosurfactants—rhamnolipids and mannosylerythritol lipids

The partnership will use Holiferm’s proprietary technology to develop the fermentation-derived biosurfactants. Sasol and Holiferm will develop and commercialize formulations and applications for the new molecules.

The deal comes less than a year after the two inked a development and commercialization pact for sophorolipids, another biosurfactant.

Surfactants are key ingredients in detergents, cleaning products and personal care products. Sophorolipids, rhamnolipids and MELs are all glycolipids made through fermentation, using yeast or bacteria to convert vegetable oils and/or sugars into final product. The Holiferm process offers an extensive reduction in carbon footprint compared with conventional surfactants.

“The imminent commercial launch of our second and third products validates Holiferm’s process to develop process technologies to produce chemicals from natural raw materials and enable their broad commercialization,” Vicky De Groof, Chief Technical Officer of Holiferm, says in a press statement. “It is also a testament to the exceptional work of the laboratory team.”

The companies expect to test at pilot plant scale before beginning larger-scale manufacturing at Holiferm’s Wallasey, UK plant.