Comparable characteristics & efficiency to NPEs: Low surface tension, good cleaning efficiency.



Surfactants are the most important active ingredients in cleaning products and are essential for the hygiene and safety of humans. Surfactants are usually amphiphillic molecules containing both lipophilic groups (usually a long alkyl chain that are compatible with oils) and hydrophilic groups (that make them water soluble). In detergents, they assist in the removal of dirt, contaminants and microorganisms by reducing the surface tension and interfacial tension.


Using low cost, renewable feedstock (polysaccharides) derived from bio-based fruit waste or algae (that have no competing food application) the UML team has created non-toxic surfactants that are as efficient as NPEs in cleaning applications. The modification of polysaccharides is carried out using sustainable methods. The properties (hydrophilicity and hydrophobicity) of these surfactants can be tuned easily to render them suitable for several types of detergents and cleaning agents.

Surface-active compounds have been synthesized from bio-based polysaccharides using two different approaches: 

Heparin-Based Surfactant: 

Amphiphilic Heparin-based surfactant was synthesized through a hydrophobic modification process 

PGA-Based Surfactant: 

Synthesis of PGA-sulfonate by the reaction of PGA with bio-derived taurine was successful

Water solubility of PGA improved significantly after modification


Renewable starting materials: Chitosan obtained from exoskeleton of shellfish; Alginate from food-waste and sea algae; pectin/poly (Galactouronic acid) from cell walls of plants and fruits.

Multiple bio-based surfactant developed Sustainable and Green modification methods: Enzymatic or using microwave reactor. 

Comparable characteristics & efficiency to NPEs: Low surface tension, good cleaning efficiency.

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