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Chitosan surfactant systems for home and health care products: limitations and potentials


*Corresponding author
1. Stranski Laboratorium für Physikalische Chemie und Theoretische Chemie, Institut für Chemie, Straße des 17. Juni 124, Sekr. TC7, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
2. Institut Max von Laue, Paul Langevin, Large Scale Structures Group, 71 avenue des Martyrs – 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France


In this brief review, the behavior of chitosan in combination with oppositely charged anionic surfactants is examined. Chitosan is a biopolymer with unique properties which is increasingly attracting the interests from both academia and industry. The goal is to highlight the strengths and potentials of these mixtures, but also their weaknesses and limitations. In particular, chitosan mixtures with strong anionic sulfated surfactants, fatty acids and ethoxylated fatty acids are described. In all cases, in addition to the description of the resulting structures and the actual and possible applications, the driving forces governing the self-assembly process are mentioned. This basic and comprehensive set of information will help improving and developing new chitosan-based formulations in the different fields where this biopolymer is becoming a unique component.


Mixtures of ionic and non-ionic polysaccharides and surfactants are becoming increasingly important ingredients in laundry, home, and beauty care formulations. On the one hand, polysaccharides such as cellulose, chitin, and their modifications respond to the need of substituting petrobased products with macromolecules derived from natural and renewable resources. On the other hand, the rapidly advancing technology for extracting, processing, and chemically modifying large quantities of these biomacromolecules makes them increasingly competitive also from an economic viewpoint, thereby allowing to substitute conventionally employed water-soluble polymers and also opening up for novel and innovative applications. Also from a fundamental scientific perspective, mixtures of polysaccharides and surfactants represent an interesting field of investigation and a large body of work has been performed in the last decade, which is summarized in some comprehensive reviews (1–4). These mixtures can be used as rheological modifiers (5), e.g., the addition of strong anionic surfactants to semidilute, cationically modified cellulose (JR-400) solution, was shown to ...

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