Synthesis of Renewable Surfactants

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Authors
Sablan, Olivia
Advisor
Carpenter, Chrissie
Editor
Date of Issue
2021
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Title
Synthesis of Renewable Surfactants
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Presentation
Description
Abstract
Herbicides have been widely used for decades to kill off weeds and help crops thrive. The active ingredient in most commercially available herbicides is glyphosate, which works to eliminate plants by preventing protein synthesis. The wide use of herbicides has become a concern in recent years because of the potential to cause cancer. Although literature suggests that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, the surfactant which is used to disperse the herbicide may be toxic. Surfactants aid in dispersal of the herbicide by decreasing surface tension. The synthesis and characterization of broad-based herbicides, like Roundup® is not easily accessible, therefore the identity of the potentially harmful surfactants is unknown. The goal of this study was to synthesize a surfactant from natural materials to provide a less toxic, renewable alternative. The reagents used for the synthesis include carbohydrates and fatty acids, which are naturally occurring and easy to obtain from plants. The carbohydrates were used to form polar head groups, and the fatty acids were used to synthesize non polar tails. Multiple monosaccharides were attempted to convert to a surfactant, including galactose and xylose.
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Department
Chemistry