American Chemical Society
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Polarity and Critical Micelle Concentration of Surfactants Support the Catalytic Efficiency of Nanogels during Glycoside Hydrolyses

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-07-08, 18:35 authored by Babloo Sharma, Susanne Striegler
The development of macromolecular catalysts from polymerizable monomers and ligands in miniemulsions requires the use of surfactants and hydrophobes for the stabilization of droplets before polymerization and for the solubilization of the obtained particles thereafter. In order to elucidate the contributions of the chosen surfactants on the catalytic performance of the synthesized macromolecular catalysts, a systematic study was performed. Thereby, a correlation between nature, polarity, and critical micelle concentration of nonionic surfactant blends, the size of the resulting polyacrylate gels, and their performance during catalytic glycoside hydrolyses was demonstrated. A catalytic efficiency of up to 0.35 min–1 M–1 and a catalytic proficiency of up to 1,300,000 were observed for an optimized, translucent gel in HEPES buffer at pH 7. The catalytic efficiency was furthermore found to depend linearly inversely on the hydrodynamic diameters of the polyacrylates. The gels were synthesized in selected surfactant blends with critical micelle concentrations that are different by more than 2 orders of magnitude. The results of the study emphasize an overall critical need for a careful surfactant selection during development of micro- and nanogel catalysts.