Conversion of bile salts from inferior emulsifier to efficient smart emulsifier assisted by negatively charged nanoparticles at low concentrations†
Bile salts (BS), one of the biological amphiphiles, are usually used as solubilizing/emulsifying agents of lipids or drugs. However, BS such as sodium deoxycholate (NaDC) can't stabilize an oil-in-water (O/W) emulsion alone due to its unusual molecular structure. In this paper we report that these emulsifiers with poor emulsifying ability can be transformed to highly efficient emulsifiers by combining with negatively charged particles (silica or montmorillonite). Both together can synergistically co-stabilize oil-in-water emulsions at extremely low concentrations (minimum 0.01 mM NaDC plus 0.003 wt% particles). Moreover, the emulsions can be reversibly switched between stable and unstable triggered by CO2/N2 at room temperature. This strategy is universal for emulsions containing different oils (alkanes, aromatic hydrocarbons and triglycerides) and for different BS and offers a generic model for a variety of BS of different molecular structure, which will extend their applications in more technical fields such as emulsion polymerization, biphasic catalysis and emulsion extraction.