Self-assembly of fatty acids: from foams to protocell vesicles
Fatty acids are potentially versatile substitutes to phospholipids and synthetic surfactants in materials chemistry and biophysics. However, sodium (or potassium) salts of saturated long chain fatty acids (SLCFAs) are long known to be soluble at a high temperature but they crystallize below their Krafft point, hampering their use for multiple applications. Recent advances have shown that under particular experimental conditions, i.e., by using a ‘good’ counter-ion, SLCFAs can be dispersed in water into various supramolecular assemblies which opens up new fields of research and applications. Here, recent studies on the self-assembly of fatty acids are commented and some potential applications are proposed and discussed.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Bioinspired systems in supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology