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Synthesis, chemistry, physicochemical properties and industrial applications of amino acid surfactants: A review

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Publication details

JournalComptes Rendus Chimie
DateAccepted/In press - 21 Nov 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 3 Feb 2018
Issue number2
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)112-130
Early online date3/02/18
Original languageEnglish


Surfactant use throughout mankind is extensive, from their initial applications as detergents extending to use in medicine, lubricant, cosmetics and even enhanced oil recovery. However, the image of surfactant use has in the past been tarnished by issues with low biodegradability and their synthesis from nonsustainable resources. Amino acid–based surfactants are a class of surfactants derived from a hydrophobe source coupled with simple amino acids, mixed amino acids from synthesis or from protein hydrolysates, and as such can be derived solely from renewable resources. There are several pathways for their synthesis and this allows for extensive structural diversity in this class of surfactants, resulting in widespread tuneable functionality in their physiochemical properties. This review includes the details of most of the available routes of synthesis for amino acid surfactants (AASs) and the impact of the diverse routes on their final physiochemical properties, including solubility, dispersability, toxicity and biodegradability. The diversity offered by the structural variation in AASs offers many exciting commercial opportunities for this ever-growing class of surfactants. It also includes a discussion on current and future potential uses of AASs.

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© 2017 Académie des sciences. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.

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