Now a Canadian startup is using them to produce an environmentally-friendly cleaning agent.
Surfactants are extracted using bacterial cultures in a sustainable process.These disperse oil by enveloping oil particles and separating them, making it easy to remove dirt.
Both harmless and biodegradable, surfactants can be used in items such as cleaning products, detergents and washing-up liquid. As well as in shampoo, peels and creams.
That makes them attractive, economically speaking. At the same time, and in contrast to most chemical cleaning agents, they can be made without using fossil fuels.