SBIR Phase I: Innovative Modified Microbial Surfactants: Biobased Solutions for Industrial and Environmental Applications

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
SyntheZyme LLC
D203, 11 University Place, Rensselaer, NY, 12144-0000
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Thavasi Renga Thavasi
(347) 435-9735
Business Contact:
Thavasi Renga Thavasi
(347) 435-9735
Research Institution:

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase-I project will address the development of modified sophorolipid (MSL) surfactant molecules by simple and scalable modification of natural SLs adopting "green chemistry principles". Natural SLs will be produced through fermentation with yeast Candida bombicola. Strategies for SL modification will focus on methods that are simple, green, and minimize manufacturing cost. Furthermore, MSLs also include approaches to meet specific application needs, for example, designing MSLs for oil spill cleanup and bioemulsifiers/dispersants. Proposed approach is to identify compounds with attractive properties for hard surface cleaning, degreasing, and oil phase emulsification, foaming, dispersion, detergency and antimicrobial fouling agents. Preliminary results show that by developing MSLs with the appropriate structural features the performance of products is greatly enhanced for commercially important surfactant applications. Successful completion of the proposed Phase-I research program will result in a detailed investigation of structure-property relationships for MSLs to determine compounds with superior functional performance for commercial applications that will further engage strategic industrial partners. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project address the market pull for green surfactant products by designing a library of MSLs by simple chemical modification to fine tune performance of nature's molecules. The aim is to create SL derived biosurfactant molecules with fine tuned surfactant properties for specific applications. Furthermore, the surfactant molecules developed will be eco-friendly, biodegradable, and composed of 80-to-100% readily renewable carbon. SyntheZyme MSL surfactants will contribute to the on-going green chemistry revolution. MSLs introduced into the market are expected to replace petroleum-derived chemical surfactants many of which are produced by harsh chemical processes. SyntheZyme's MSLs will be particularly important for applications where surfactants are disposed or used within environmental systems as well as for uses involving human contact.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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