Dissolving Sugar in CO2

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Science  21 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5576, pp. 2105
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5576.2105a

Many biomolecules are too polar to be readily solvated in supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2), and surfactant molecules must be added to take advantage of the physical and environmental benefits of using scCO2 as a solvent. However, many of these surfactants are fluorocarbons, which are costly and can degrade into undesirable by-products.

Guided by recent ab initio calculations, Raveendran and Wallen show that several polysaccharides, such as the α and β forms of 1,2,3,4,6-pentaacetyl-D-glucose (AGLU and BGLU), are CO2-philic. At room temperature and CO2 pressures of 35 to 40 atmospheres, BGLU was wetted by gas-phase CO2, and, at somewhat higher pressures, the solid material turned into a liquid and swelled to many times its original volume, eventually dissolving completely in liquid or scCO2. These results suggest that acetylated sugars and other derivatives may be suitable surfactants for the formation of microemulsions. — PDS

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 10.1021/ja025508b (2002).

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