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From cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to agricultural products and paint, surfactants are ubiquitous in consumer and industrial areas. The compounds make up a multi-billion-dollar market, according to the NSF.
Taking cues from surfactants made by common bacteria, the Univ. of Arizona research team is exploring new biosurfactants based on sugars generally referred to as glycolipids. The sugar structure ensure the surfactants are biodegradable.