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.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature10452] [PMID: 21993620]