Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae are a new source of high-quality bio-based materials
that can be implemented for technical applications. Black soldier fly larvae can be bred in high
numbers in small areas and organic waste streams, making large scale industrial breeding possible.
Fats from the black soldier fly are very rich in lauric acid, and the fatty acid profile resembles that of
palm kernel and coconut oil. Therefore, black soldier fly fats could be envisaged to have similar applications
to these plant-derived oils.
The aims of this work were (1) to use black soldier fly fat, palm kernel and coconut oil to synthesize a
glycine-acyl surfactant by means of a Schotten-Baumann reaction; (2) to determine the yield and purity
of the reaction products; and (3) to determine solubility, foaming capacity, surface tension and critical
micelle concentration of the surfactants in comparison to a commercially-available glycinecoconut
oil surfactant, Amilite GCS-11®.
The average yield of each reaction was satisfactory (70% or higher). The in-house synthesized surfactants
had a fatty acid profile similar to the fatty acid profile of the initial fat/oil. All in-house synthesized
surfactants showed similar properties, regardless of the source of the fat/oil, but they performed
slightly less well regarding foaming capacity compared to the commercial surfactant.
It is concluded that black soldier fly fats are a suitable alternative to coconut or palm kernel oil for the
preparation of glycine-acyl surfactants.