Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Soapy Situation

Life has funny ways of surprising you. While analyzing my latest batch of a functionalized sugar, I noticed that the NMR sample foamed upon sonication. Fearing surfactant (read: soap) contamination, I found myself back at the instrument facility with a D2O sample of...Contrex, the orange-labeled glassware rinse I've used ever since I started working at the bench.

Source: Decon Labs
Never thought I'd be taking a soapy NMR...
Unsurprisingly, Decon Labs doesn't list its trade-secret formulation on the MSDS or their website. However, this doesn't seem like something I'm going to investigate a la What's In Lemi-Shine? Seems to be to be a typical mono-aromatic tetraalkylammonium salt, probably containing some KOH, phosphate, or bicarb for good measure.

Best part? It's not a contaminant in my material. On to the next project!


  1. if you are putting something fairly big and greasy on your (otherwise deprotected) sugar, it is going to behave like non-ionogenic detergent.

  2. Sure....especially if it's a big ball o'grease : )

  3. It's not a bug, it's a feature. It's not a contaminant, it's the compound.

  4. There are quite a few funcitionalized sugars that are surfactants. Decyl glucoside comes to mind.