A new scientific hypothesis states that biosurfactants from cloud microorganism origin could change the surface tension of aerosols and thus the mode of precipitations. In order to check this hypothesis, our team has screened a collection of 480 microbial strains isolated from cloud waters for the production of biosurfactants and showed that 42% of these strains were producing such molecules. In the present work, we isolated and identified by LC-MS-MS lipopeptides produced from three strains issued from this screening. Viscosin and massetolide E (cyclic lipopeptides) were produced by Pseudomonas sp. PDD-14b-2, and syringafactins (linear lipopeptides) were produced by Xanthomonas campestris PDD-32b-52 and Pseudomonas syringae PDD-32b-74. The critical micelle concentration (CMC) of these biosurfactants was determined using the pendant drop method. Finally, two approaches of molecular dynamics were used to model the conformation of viscosin and syringafactin A at the water-air interface: one is based on all-atoms simulation (CHARMM force field), while the other one on coarse-grain (CG) simulation (MARTINI force field). To conclude, this work shows how the biodiversity of the cloud microbiota can be explored to search and produce biosurfactants of interest both for atmospheric sciences and also for biotechnological applications.
Part of the book: Surfactants and Detergents