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Micellar Characterisation of Saponin from Sapindus Mukorossi

Mizellare Charakterisierung von Saponin aus Sapindus Mukorossi
  • S. Balakrishnan , S. Varughese and A. P. Deshpande


The micellar characteristics of a non-ionic, natural surfactant, saponin obtained from the soapnut tree, Sapindus mukorossi, were studied in aqueous solution. Critical micelle concentration of Sapindus saponin determined using conductivity measurements and UV absorption studies was 0.045 wt%. Increase in temperature and salt concentration led to decrease in the critical micelle concentration of Sapindus saponin. The critical micelle concentration was found to increase with increase in hardness of water and increase in pH. The micellar aggregation number was determined using cyclic voltammetry and was found to be between 13 and 21. The size of the Sapindus saponin micelles was determined using intrinsic viscosity measurements and was found to be independent of saponin concentration for concentrations above the CMC. Solubilisation of two types of crude oils and a vegetable oil was studied using micellar solubilisation technique. At lower concentrations of the surfactant, the micellar solubilisation of crude oils in saponin was better than synthetic surfactants like Triton X100® and SDS where as, the solubilisation of vegetable oil was better in synthetic surfactants.


Die mizellare Charakterisierung des nichtionischen natürlichen Tensids, Saponin, gewonnen aus dem Waschnussbaum, Sapindus mukorossi, wurde in wässriger Lösung untersucht. Die kritische Mizellbildungskonzentration von Sapindus Saponin wurde mittels Leitfähigkeitsmessung und UV-Absorptionsuntersuchungen zu 0,045 wt% bestimmt. Erhöhungen von Temperatur und Salzkonzentration führen zu einer Verringerung der kritischen Mizellbildungskonzentration von Sapindus Saponin. Durch Zunahme des Anteils an hartem Wasser und durch pH-Erhöhung steigt die kritische Mizellbildungskonzentration an. Die mizellare Aggregationszahl wurde mittels zyklischer Voltammetrie bestimmt und betrug zwischen 13 und 21. Die Größe der Sapindus Saponin Mizellen wurde durch intrinsische Viskositätsmessungen bestimmt und ist für Konzentrationen oberhalb der cmc unabhängig von der Saponin-Konzentration. Die Solubilisierung von zwei Rohölsorten und eines Pflanzenöles wurden unter Verwendung der mizellaren Solubilisierungstechnik untersucht. Bei niedrigeren Tensidkonzentrationen war die mizellare Solubilisierung der Rohöle in Saponin besser als die von synthetischen Tensiden, wie Triton X100® und SDS, wohingegen die Solubilisierung von Pflanzenöl in synthetischen Tensiden besser war.

Dr. Susy Varughese, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT-Madras, Chennai-600036, India, Phone: +91-44-22574172, Fax: +91-44-22574152. E-mail:

S. Balakrishnan graduated in chemical engineering in 2002 from Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, India. After that he worked as Trainee in (The Metal Powder Company Limited, Madurai) for one year. He is pursuing his MS in chemical engineering at IIT-Madras, since 2004. His area of interest is Rheology and Fluid Mechanics.

Dr. Susy Varughese is currently Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering in the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Background:

– Scientist, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune.

– Post-doctoral Fellow, Cambridge University Engineering Department, Cambridge, UK.

– Ph.D., Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, 1992.

– B. Tech., Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, India, 1987.

Her research interests are in the areas of physics and mechanics of polymeric materials, diffusion and free volume in polymers, eco-friendly products and processes, polymeric nanocomposites, recycling and environment.

Abhijit P. Deshpande studied Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Bombay, Mumbai (BTech, 1989), University of Pitssburgh (MS, 1991) and University of Washington (PhD, 1996). He is currently Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering in the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. His research interests are Polymers and composites, Rheology and Flow visualization. Some current projects are: drop spreading dynamics on porous media, micellar systems, development of natural fiber composites.


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Received: 2006-02-20
Published Online: 2013-04-02
Published in Print: 2006-11-01

© 2006, Carl Hanser Publisher, Munich

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