Fatty acid monoesters of carbohydrates have been notoriously difficult to synthesize. The development of a simple procedure, utilizing the regioselectivity of a lipase, which makes commercial production in bulk quantities of such compounds feasible, is described. The unique performance of the products in selected applications is briefly touched upon. The products pose significant differences to petrochemical nonionic surfactants in relation to structure and purity. An attempt is made to connect these differences to the differences in behaviour between the two classes of nonionic surfactants. © 1995, Elsevier B.V.
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