Archaeal cyclopentane fragment in a surfactant's hydrophobic tail decreases the Krafft point
Archaea are prokaryotic microorganisms famous for their ability to adapt to extreme environments, including low and high temperatures. Archaeal lipids often are macrocycles with two polar heads and a hydrophobic core that contains methyl groups and in-line cycles. Here we present the design of novel general-purpose surfactants that have inherited features of archaeal lipids. These are C12 and C14 carboxylic acids containing in-line cyclopentanes. The cyclopentanes disturb the chain packing, which results in remarkable expansion of the operational range of the surfactant into the low-temperature region. We report synthesis and properties of these novel archaea-like surfactants and details of their chain packing derived from thermodynamics model predictions, molecular dynamics simulations, and experimental data on CMC and Krafft points.