Stabilizing and destabilizing protein surfactant-based foams in the presence of a chemical surfactant: Effect of adsorption kinetics

Huazhen Li, Anton P Le Brun, Dominic Agyei, Wei Shen, Anton PJ Middelberg, Lizhong He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Stimuli-responsive protein surfactants promise alternative foaming materials that can be made from renewable sources. However, the cost of protein surfactants is still higher than their chemical counterparts. In order to reduce the required amount of protein surfactant for foaming, we investigated the foaming and adsorption properties of the protein surfactant, DAMP4, with addition of low concentrations of the chemical surfactant sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS). The results show that the small addition of SDS can enhance foaming functions of DAMP4 at a lowered protein concentration. Dynamic surface tension measurements suggest that there is a synergy between DAMP4 and SDS which enhances adsorption kinetics of DAMP4 at the initial stage of adsorption (first 60 s), which in turn stabilizes protein foams. Further interfacial properties were revealed by X-ray reflectometry measurements, showing that there is a re-arrangement of adsorbed protein–surfactant layer over a long period of 1 h. Importantly, the foaming switchability of DAMP4 by metal ions is not affected by the presence of SDS, and foams can be switched off by the addition of zinc ions at permissive pH. This work provides fundamental knowledge to guide formulation using a mixture of protein and chemical surfactants towards a high performance of foaming at a low cost.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56 - 63
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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