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Journal of colloid and interface science

Dimeric and monomeric surfactants derived from sulfur-containing amino acids.


PMID 20800236

Abstract

Anionic urea-based dimeric (gemini) surfactants derived from the amino acids L-cystine, D-cystine and DL-cystine, as well as monomeric surfactants derived from L-cysteine, L-methionine and L-cysteic acid were synthesized and their solution properties characterized by electrical conductivity, equilibrium surface tension, and steady-state fluorescence spectroscopy techniques. The geminis studied showed the lowest critical micelle concentration (cmc) values, however the monomeric cysteine counterpart exhibited superior efficiency in lowering surface tension, an unusual finding that can be attributed to the free sulfhydryl group. Chirality seems to play a role in the surface active properties of the gemini surfactants, but not on micelle formation. All the surfactants studied showed a higher preference for adsorption at the air/water interface rather than to form micelles, a fact that may be related to the urea moiety. The polarity of the interfacial region, measured with the solvatochromic probe E(T)(30) (Reichardt's betaine dye), was similar to sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) micelles.

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