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Phytol – A biosurfactant from the aquatic weed Hydrilla verticillata

Prabha, S. Pandi, Karthik, C., Chandrika, S. Hema
Biocatalysis and agricultural biotechnology 2019 v.17 pp. 736-742
Escherichia coli, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Hydrilla verticillata, active ingredients, alkaloids, amides, anionic surfactants, antibacterial properties, aquatic weeds, biosurfactants, chlorophyll, disinfectants, diterpenoids, ethyl acetate, fatty alcohols, flavonoids, halogens, high performance liquid chromatography, hydrophobicity, manufacturing, methylene blue, moieties, phosphorus, risk factors, saponins, solvents, spectral analysis, sulfates, thin layer chromatography, toluene, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, vitamin E
Phytol, a natural linear diterpene fatty alcohol present in the integral part of the chlorophyll is found in copious amounts in the aquatic weed Hydrilla verticillata. It is widely used as a precursor for the manufacture of vitamins E and K and its worldwide demand is 0.1–1.0 metric tons/year. High hydrophobicity of phytol intended its use as a surfactant for various applications. Hence, the main objective of this study is to separate phytol from ethanolic extract of Hydrilla verticillata and to use as an anionic surfactant. Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of alkaloids, phenols, flavonoids, saponins and terpenoids. FTIR spectral analysis confirmed the different functional groups such as amides, alcohol, phenol, phosphorus and halogen compounds in the extract. HPLC fingerprint profile of ethanolic extract of hydrilla showed that phytol, a major phytochemical present in the crude extract. Thin layer chromatography is used to determine the proper solvent system for performing separations using column chromatography and effective separation is achieved with mixture of Toluene: Ethyl Acetate in the ratio 7:3. Column chromatography is done for partial purification of phytol and the fractions are analyzed by UV–Visible spectroscopy. The purified phytol is subjected to sulphonation to convert it into phytol sulphate which is found to possess surfactant activity. The concentration of phytol sulphate is assessed by using Methylene Blue Active Substances (MBAS) assay. Phytol sulphate showed potent disinfectant by its antibacterial activity against E. coli. Since Phytol is from a natural source and is renewable, its availability in abundance with less risk factor can be a great asset to the humankind.