Univ of Minnesota researchers develop safer, more effective molecule

Potential for numerous applications

New biobased molecule may wipe clean competition

CBN member Kristeen Joseph’s research is focused on developing a biobased surfactant molecule.  Joseph earned her Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai (India) in 2013. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota.CBN member and University of Minnesota Ph.D. candidate Kristeen Joseph is pursuing her dream of developing biobased alternatives that are safer, more effective, and potentially less expensive than traditional petroleum-based materials.

Joseph is part of a team, led by Paul Dauenhauer, a University of Minnesota associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science, which has developed a biobased molecule -- known as an Oleo-Furan-Surfactant (OFS).  This new surfactant molecule can replace synthetic, petroleum-based molecules (benzene, which is classified by EPA as a known human carcinogen*) that are used in a wide-range of everyday products.  Some of these petroleum-based molecules have already been phased out in Europe.

“The OFS molecule is showing great promise in cleaning applications and has the potential to be used in paints, personal care products and more,” Joseph said.  “It’s exciting to see all the possible uses for this biobased alternative.”

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