*Cleanzine-logo-10a.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 16th May 2024 Issue no. 1114

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Research Award recognises interactions of surfactants with biomimetic Membranes

* Research-Award.jpgResearch that could be used for screening and developing new detergents based on biomimetic membranes has been recognised as the best Paper published in 2021 in the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents.

The authors were recognised during the 2022 American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS) Annual Meeting, held this week in Atlanta, Georgia. The Distinguished Paper Award is an annual honour presented by the American Cleaning Institute.

Dr Nikolai M Kocherginsky, founder and chief scientist, Next-ChemX and Dr Brajendra K Sharma, senior research scientist, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, co-authored the paper.

The article focuses on interactions of surfactants with biomimetic membranes, which are easy and inexpensive to make and can imitate biological membranes. When these membranes are fixed in a thermostatically controlled chamber separated into two compartments that contain stirred aqueous solutions, it may be considered as a simple model of a laundry machine. The results revealed that the addition of ionic surfactants into one of the solutions led to the formation of transmembrane electrical potential that is proportional to the logarithm of surfactant concentration. Thus, biomimetic membranes can be used as electrochemical sensors to detect and measure surfactant concentration.

When concentration is near the critical micelle concentration, a new phenomenon was observed, i.e., spontaneous oscillations of both transmembrane potential and transmembrane current, which mimics the opening and closing of aqueous channels in biological membranes.

A further increase of surfactant concentration led to a sharp 100-fold decrease of transmembrane electrical resistance and the disappearance of any transmembrane voltage. This effect, explained by the washing out of fatty acids from the pores, may be used for screening and development of new detergents.

"We are thrilled to be presented with this award," said Dr Kocherginsky and Dr Sharma. "We are very proud of the article we published and are grateful that our work is being recognised and honoured."

The paper, ‘Interactions of Surfactants with Biomimetic Membranes. 1. Ionic Surfactants’, was published in the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents, July 2021, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 661-667.


5th May 2022

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