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Kao Develops Bio IOS, to Completely Transform the Concept of Conventional Detergent Bases

Tokyo – Kao Corporation has had a long commitment to cleaning. The company has developed numerous detergent bases and has continued to meet consumer needs by creating systems designed to clean the articles of interest more effectively under the conditions in which they are used. Kao has now developed Bio IOS, which is poised to completely transform the concept of conventional detergent bases.

Bio IOS was introduced in the Kao Group Technology Innovation Session held in Tokyo on November 27, 2018. The revolutionary detergent base is the result of Kao's long years of research and exploration in interface science. The development of Bio IOS heralds the beginning of a new era in which cleaning systems will be transformed into innovations.

Bio IOS will be commercialized from the concentrated liquid detergent "Attack ZERO" to be released in Japan in April 2019.


Bio IOS Molecular structure model

Hydrophilic group: a part with a high affinity to water
Lipophilic group (hydrophobic chain): a part with a high affinity to oil
A specific structure of the lipophilic group with a hydrophilic group in its midsection

Features of Bio IOS

Bio IOS is a unique surfactant, highly soluble in water while at the same time retaining its high affinity to oils. Utilizing Kao's years of research findings and manufacturing technologies, the molecular design and development of Bio IOS are aimed at realizing stable manufacture and supply on a global basis.

Binds well to oil to remove contaminants, yet dissolves well in water

Surfactants are molecules that have both a lipophilic group (hydrophobic chain), that is, a water-insoluble part with a high affinity to oil, and a hydrophilic group, that is, a part with a high affinity to water. Bio IOS demonstrates unprecedented performance. It has a specific structure of long lipophilic group (16 to 18 carbon atoms) with a hydrophilic group in its midsection – essentially, the molecular configuration resembles two separate lipophilic chains. This raises its affinity with oil, enabling it to adsorb to oil and remove it effectively, even when used in small amounts. At the same time, despite its appearance of having a long hydrophobic chain, it has a low melting point and a branched structure that allows it to dissolve well in water, and as a result, Bio IOS itself does not adhere to clothing. In short, it leaves the surface of the laundered article free of any contaminant or residue whatsoever. Bio IOS is highly serviceable, dissolving well in water and exerting its effect even under conditions that are unfavorable for laundry (low temperature, hard water) found around the globe.

It is a new surfactant made possible by the precise molecular structure control born of Kao's long years of research into interface science.

A sustainable detergent base

Most cleaning surfactants made from naturally derived fatty materials have chains of 12 to 14 carbon atoms, because agents with longer chains are less soluble in water.

However, oil-based ingredients with 12 to 14 carbon atoms account for only about 5% of total oil-based ingredients, and the current situation is one in which manufacturers are competing to secure scarce raw material.

Bio IOS uses the residue of pressed palm oil from the fruit of oil palm to collect edible oil. Out of all the natural vegetable oil ingredients marketed in the world (190M tons/year in FY2017), palm oil is the most widely used multipurpose oil. The solid fats obtained from pressed residue of the oil have long carbon chains and have conventionally only been used for limited purposes. These solid fats can now be used effectively as a fine chemical. This is a revolutionary development. It is a highly sustainable surfactant for the next generation in the sense that it can effectively utilize oil ingredients that have been scarcely used so far and because oils that are extracted from algae can be utilized in the future.

As the global population continues to increase, the amounts of surfactants used for cleaning purposes will surely rise. What ingredient, then, can solve such cleaning challenges and contribute to society? The answer is Bio IOS.

Policy going forward

Through the development of Bio IOS, we see major potential demand as detergent bases, and we will explore widely its potential application as a unique surfactant. We intend to continue our research to position the products as a global surfactant with unique characteristics and plan to promote cooperation from various aspects.

About Kao

Kao creates high-value-added products that enrich the lives of consumers around the world. Through its portfolio of over 20 leading brands such as Attack, Bioré, Goldwell, Jergens, John Frieda, Kanebo, Laurier, Merries and Molton Brown, Kao is part of the everyday lives of people in Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe. Combined with its chemical division, which contributes to a wide range of industries, Kao generates about 1,500 billion yen in annual sales. Kao employs about 33,000 people worldwide and has 130 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.

Media inquiries should be directed to:

Corporate Communications
Kao Corporation


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