Surfactants based on green/blue sugars: towards new functionalities in formulations
Sugar-based surfactants are surface-active agents that are gaining more and more attention due to advantages regarding to performance, biodegradability, low toxicity and environmental compatibility. They have been commercially available for several decades and they represent attractive substitutes for petroleum-derived surfactants in many industrial applications such as food, detergency and cosmetics. Indeed, these poly(oligo)ethylene glycol-free products exhibit a wide range of physicochemical properties that can compete with or differ from those of traditional ethoxylates. With the aim to enlarge their application fields and to facilitate their penetration in markets dominated by non-renewable surfactants, research work is still necessary to propose ‘greener’ or ‘bluer’ molecules utilizing carbohydrate-based raw materials of terrestrial or marine origin, and that display innovative physicochemical behaviours. The purpose of this chapter is to present the most recent findings concerning the chemical syntheses of new carbohydrate-containing surfactants and their potentiality in formulation, with a special focus on the development of ionic versions of sugar surfactants, the use of original carbohydrate source, the incorporation of new linkers between hydrophilic and hydrophobic domains, and the one-pot transformation of natural polysaccharides as eco-friendly synthetic procedures.