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Development of Sustainable Surfactant Bio IOS

Oil Science

Kao is also conducting research on development of surfactants with the aim of realizing a lasting and prosperous life for society members. Surfactants such as C12-C14 (carbon chain length 12 to 14), which are mainly used at present, are made from only 5% of the total vegetable oil and fat raw materials accessed, and future supply is an important issue. On the other hand, surfactants such as C16-C18 can be produced from solid fats and oils, which is the portion remaining after collecting edible palm oil from oil palm nuts. If those can be utilized, competition with other applications will be reduced and a stable supply of surfactants can be expected.
However, it is known that surfactants with long alkyl chains such as C16-C18 do not dissolve well in water and are difficult to use as surfactants. Therefore, Kao has consistently studied the effects of surfactants with long-chain alkyl chains on physical characteristics of molecular structures, resulting in development of the surfactant "Bio IOS", which contains a hydrophilic group. General surfactants have a hydrophilic group at the end of the hydrophobic group, while Bio IOS has a characteristic structure in which the hydrophilic group is located inside, resulting in high levels of water solubility and cleaning performance.

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Molecular structure model of surfactants 
General surfactants (left side). Bio IOS (right side)

Bio IOS developed in this manner has already achieved mass production and a stable manufactured supply, and is being put into practical use in the concentrated liquid clothes detergent "Attack ZERO". As a sustainable surfactant, Bio IOS is expected to continue to contribute to prosperous living.

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