[en] Mixed monolayers of the surface-active lipopeptide surfactin-C-15 and various lipids differing by their chain length (DMPC, DPPC, DSPC) and polar headgroup (DPPC, DPPE, DPPS) were investigated by atomic force microscopy (AFM) in combination with molecular modeling (Hypermatrix procedure) and surface pressure-area isotherms. In the presence of surfactin, AFM topographic images showed phase separation for each surfactin-phospholipid system except for surfactin-DMPC, which was in good agreement with compression isotherms. On the basis of domain shape and line tension theory, we conclude that the miscibility between surfactin and phospholipids is higher for shorter chain lengths (DMPC > DPPC > DSPC) and that the polar headgroup of phospholipids influences the miscibility of surfactin in the order DPPC > DPPE > DPPS. Molecular modeling data show that mixing surfactin and DPPC has a destabilizing effect on DPPC monolayer while it has a stabilizing effect towards DPPE and DPPS molecular interactions. Our results provide valuable information on the activity mechanism of surfactin and may be useful for the design of surfactin delivery systems. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.