U of M scientists claim they have invented the 'perfect' soap - Bring Me The News

U of M scientists claim they have invented the 'perfect' soap

Researchers say this could have a major impact on the multibillion-dollar cleaning products industry.
Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

A team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota have invented the "perfect soap molecule." It apparently works better than other soaps and is better for the environment.

Wednesday, the U announced researchers had developed a new chemical process which combines fatty acids from soybeans or coconut with "sugar-derived rings from corn" to make a renewable soap molecule called Oleo-Furan-Surfactant (OFS).

Researchers found OFS actually works better than conventional soaps, especially in cold water. The U says conventional soaps get cloudy, gooey and pretty much unusable in cold water. OFS apparently doesn't do that.

Since OFS foams similarly to other detergents, it could eventually replace soaps in things like washing machines and dishwashers.

You can even use it in "hard" water (water with a high mineral content) without struggling to wash it off.

"This research could have a major impact on the multibillion-dollar cleaning products industry," Paul Dauenhauer, a University of Minnesota professor and a co-author of the study, said in a statement.

Better for the environment

OFS is made from natural products. So it's biodegradable.

And since the new soap molecule works well in low concentrations, it's environmental impact is "significantly" lower than other soaps.

"These are really the perfect soap molecules,” said U of M graduate student Kristeen Joseph.

Many conventional soaps, the U says, are made fossil fuels such as petroleum, which are then "mixed with many additional difficult-to-pronounce and harmful chemicals" that get washed down drains.

This invention is part of a larger mission of the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation research center to produce renewable chemicals and biofuels from natural sources.

You can get the full scientific article here.

Next Up

Related

Building a better beer? U of M scientist helps map barley genome

An international team that includes University of Minnesota scientist Gary Muehlbauer has mapped the genome of barley, one of the world's most important and genetically complex cereal crops, and a key beer ingredient. The researchers say the findings could lead to higher yields and a grain that can more easily handle climate change.