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Fundamental Characterization of the Micellar Self-Assembly of Sophorolipid Esters.

Koh, Amanda; Todd, Katherine; Sherbourne, Ezekiel; Gross, Richard A.
Langmuir; 33(23): 5760-5768, 2017 06 13.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28510440
Surfactants are ubiquitous constituents of commercial and biological systems that function based on complex structure-dependent interactions. Sophorolipid (SL) n-alkyl esters (SL-esters) comprise a group of modified naturally derived glycolipids from Candida bombicola. Herein, micellar self-assembly behavior as a function of SL-ester chain length was studied. Surface tensions as low as 31.2 mN/m and critical micelle concentrations (CMCs) as low as 1.1 µM were attained for diacetylated SL-decyl ester (dASL-DE) and SL-octyl ester, respectively. For deacetylated SL-esters, CMC values reach a lower limit at SL-ester chains above n-butyl (SL-BE, 1-3 µM). This behavior of SL-esters with increasing hydrophobic tail length is unlike other known surfactants. Diffusion-ordered spectroscopy (DOSY) and T1 relaxation NMR experiments indicate this behavior is due to a change in intramolecular interactions, which impedes the self-assembly of SL-esters with chain lengths above SL-BE. This hypothesis is supported by micellar thermodynamics where a disruption in trends occurs at n-alkyl ester chain lengths above those of SL-BE and SL-hexyl ester (SL-HE). Diacetylated (dA) SL-esters exhibit an even more unusual trend in that CMC increases from 1.75 to 815 µM for SL-ester chain lengths of dASL-BE and dASL-DE, respectively. Foaming studies, performed to reveal the macroscopic implications of SL-ester micellar behavior, show that the observed instability in foams formed using SL-esters are due to coalescence, which highlights the importance of understanding intermicellar interactions. This work reveals that SL-esters are an important new family of green high-performing surfactants with unique structure-property relationships that can be tuned to optimize micellar characteristics.
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