The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Research Award Recognizes the Importance of Surfactant Stability

  • ACI Distinguished Paper Award Presented at AOCS Annual Meeting

Research that could be used to inform surfactant formulation has been recognized as the best paper published in 2023 in the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents. 

The authors were recognized during the 2024 American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) Annual Meeting, held April 28-May 1 in Montréal, Québec, Canada.

The Distinguished Paper Award is an annual honor presented by the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI). 

The authors of the research include Dan Lundberg, AstraZeneca R&D, Maria Stjerndahl, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Krister Holmberg, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Their article reviews the alkaline hydrolysis of cationic, anionic and nonionic ester-based surfactants and surfactant mixtures. Cationic surfactants readily undergo alkaline hydrolysis. Anionic ester-based surfactants are highly stable and can be used in alkaline formulations that when diluted to a level below the critical micelle concentration (e.g., in a wastewater treatment plant), the hydrolysis rate will quicken and facilitate biodegradation. Nonionic ester surfactants can behave similarly to anionic ester surfactants in the formation of micelles that inhibit hydrolysis.

Household cleaning products are typically formulated using mixtures of different surfactants to achieve hydrolysis patterns that are advantageous for different cleaning applications. This review article summarizes the current state of the science on surfactant features that are important to consider during their synthesis.

“We are thrilled to be presented with this award,” said the paper’s authors. “We believe that the issue of stability of ester-based surfactants is important both from a user’s perspective and from an environmental point of view.”

The paper, “Ester-based surfactants: Are they stable enough?,” was published in the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents, May 2023, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 223-451.

The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI – is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $60 billion U.S. cleaning product supply chain. ACI members include the manufacturers and formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and chemical distributors. ACI serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet. ACI achieves this through a continuous commitment to sound science and being a credible voice for the cleaning products industry.