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Surfactants: physicochemical interactions with biological macromolecules

Authors
  • Aguirre-Ramírez, M.1
  • Silva-Jiménez, H.2
  • Banat, I. M.3
  • Díaz De Rienzo, M. A.4
  • 1 Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez,
  • 2 Universidad Autónoma de Baja California,
  • 3 University of Ulster,
  • 4 Liverpool John Moores University,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biotechnology Letters
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Feb 03, 2021
Volume
43
Issue
3
Pages
523–535
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10529-020-03054-1
PMID: 33534014
PMCID: PMC7872986
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Macromolecules are essential cellular components in biological systems responsible for performing a large number of functions that are necessary for growth and perseverance of living organisms. Proteins, lipids and carbohydrates are three major classes of biological macromolecules. To predict the structure, function, and behaviour of any cluster of macromolecules, it is necessary to understand the interaction between them and other components through basic principles of chemistry and physics. An important number of macromolecules are present in mixtures with surfactants, where a combination of hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions is responsible for the specific properties of any solution. It has been demonstrated that surfactants can help the formation of helices in some proteins thereby promoting protein structure formation. On the other hand, there is extensive research towards the use of surfactants to solubilize drugs and pharmaceuticals; therefore, it is evident that the interaction between surfactants with macromolecules is important for many applications which includes environmental processes and the pharmaceutical industry. In this review, we describe the properties of different types of surfactants that are relevant for their physicochemical interactions with biological macromolecules, from macromolecules–surfactant complexes to hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions.

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