Eating a yogurt or a jelly, using a pharmaceutical or cosmetic cream or shampoo... are just some of the numerous everyday actions in which we use gels developed through a process of gelation. Researchers from Universitat Jaume I have patented a new family of compounds that enables to develop gels more resistant to high temperatures with a higher level of biocompatibility and able to work with a variety of organic solvents, and all this with an easy synthesis, scalable and low cost. This family of compounds has significant applications in industries such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics or food industry, among others.
A jellifying agent is a substance that when is added to a liquid, transforms it into ice. When the liquid used is water, it is called hydrogel. But if the solvents used are organic compounds, they use organojellifying compounds such as the developed by the group Sustainable chemistry: supported reactants and catalysts. Supramolecular chemistry from the UJI, led by the chair professor Santiago Luis. ‘Normally, when we develop a compound or family compounds able to form organogels, they only act in such a way in a very small number of solvents. The fundamental difference is that our group of compounds is capable of forming gels with a very high range of solvents’, the researcher explains.
Another contribution of the compound is its ability to maintain stability at temperatures up to 100° C, thus allowing the products to keep their properties. In addition, the basic chemical structures that form compounds are amino acids, which provide products that are in most cases biocompatible. ‘As they have units easily acceptable by the biological world, they don’t have incompatibility, allergies or toxicities problems", Santiago Luis stresses.
To all these advantages, we have to add the fact that these compounds with a jellifying action at low concentrations are cheap.