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Sweet Confinement: Glucose and Carbohydrate Osmolytes in Reverse Micelles

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journal contribution
posted on 21.09.2018, 00:00 authored by Benjamin P. Wiebenga-Sanford, Jack B. Washington, Brett Cosgrove, Eduardo F. Palomares, Derrick A. Vasquez, Christopher D. Rithner, Nancy E. Levinger
The research presented here reports the surprising observation that adding glucose and other carbohydrate osmolytes to the polar phase of water-containing reverse micelles causes the particles to shrink. This apparent change in reverse micelle size is attributed to two factors: an increase in the surface area per surfactant molecule induced by the presence of carbohydrate and changes in the particle shape eccentricity. The studies reported here not only focus on glucose but also explore other carbohydrate osmolytes, specifically ethylene glycol, glycerol, erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol, myo-inositol, and trehalose, in the nanoconfined environments of reverse micelles. Through two-dimensional proton nuclear Overhauser enhancement nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the osmolytes were determined to reside solvated in the aqueous interior of the reverse micelles. This paper reports the loading limit of carbohydrates into AOT [sodium bis­(2-ethylhexyl)­sulfosuccinate] reverse micelles, demonstrates the location of the carbohydrates in the reverse micelles, and shows an unexpected effect where the carbohydrates add to the reverse micelle volume without causing an apparent increase in the reverse micelle diameter.

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