Effect of sophorolipid n-alkyl ester chain length on its interfacial properties at the almond oil-water interface

Koh, Amanda
Linhardt, Robert J.
Gross, Richard
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Biology , Chemistry and chemical biology , Chemical and biological engineering , Biomedical engineering
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Effect of sophorolipid n-alkyl ester chain length on its interfacial properties at the almond oil-water interface, A. Koh, R.J. Linhardt, R. Gross, Langmuir, 32, 5562–5572, 2016.
Sophorolipids (SLs), produced by Candida bombicola, are of interest as potential replacements for hazardous commercial surfactants. For the first time, a series of molecularly edited SLs with ethyl (EE), n-hexyl (HE), and n-decyl (DE) esters were evaluated at an oil (almond oil)–water interface for their ability to reduce interfacial tension (IFT) and generate stable emulsions. An increase in the n-alkyl ester chain length from ethyl to hexyl resulted in a maximum % decrease in the IFT from 86.1 to 95.3, respectively. Furthermore, the critical aggregation concentrations (CACs) decreased from 0.035 to 0.011 and 0.006 mg/mL as the ester chain length was increased from ethyl to n-hexyl and n-decyl, respectively. In contrast, the CAC of natural SL, composed of 50/50 acidic and LSL, is 0.142 mg/mL. Dynamic IFT analysis showed significant differences in diffusion coefficients for all SLs studied. Almond oil emulsions with up to 200:1 (by weight) oil/SL-DE were stable against oil separation for up to 1 week with average droplet sizes below 5 μm. Emulsions of almond oil with natural SLs showed consistent oil separation 24 h after emulsification. A unique connection between IFT and emulsification was found as SL-DE has both the lowest CAC and the best emulsification performance of all natural and modified SLs studied herein. This connection between CAC and emulsification may be generally applicable, providing a tool for the prediction of optimal surfactants in other oil–water interfacial applications.
Langmuir, 32, 5562–5572
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