Enzymatic synthesis of N-alkanoyl-N-methylglucamide surfactants: solvent-free production and environmental assessment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A biocatalysis based method for the solvent-free production of N-alkanoyl-N-methylglucamide (MEGA) surfactants was developed and used as a case study for the evaluation of different environmental assessment tools, such as the freeware package EATOS (Environmental Assessment Tool for Organic Synthesis). In order to also consider energy usage and process facilities, e. g. heating, stirring and vacuum, a complementary tool was needed; hence the EcoScale method and the use of an energy monitoring socket were also exploited. The solvent-free method followed by a simple hydrolysis step gave a final amide yield of 99% and a product essentially free of remaining substrate, N-methylglucamine (MEG). The latter is important since MEG can potentially be converted to carcinogenic nitrosamines. The absence of solvent in the reaction medium was also found to result in a significantly reduced potential environmental impact. The environmental tools used in this study were further scrutinized, and even if they represent some of the best freely available tools for evaluation of early stage process development, some points for further improvements are suggested.


  • Yasser Gaber
  • Ulrika Törnvall
  • Cecilia Orellana Coca Åkerman
  • Magdy Ali Amin
  • Rajni Hatti-Kaul
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Industrial Biotechnology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1817-1825
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch

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