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The reactivity of a trisubstituted alkene surfactant (8-methylnon-7-ene-1 sulfonate, 1) to airborne singlet oxygen in a solution containing E. coli was examined. Surfactant 1 was prepared by a Strecker-type reaction of 9-bromo-2-methylnon-2-ene with sodium sulfite. Submicellar concentrations of 1 were used that reacted with singlet oxygen by an “ene” reaction to yield two hydroperoxides (7-hydroperoxy-8-methylnon-8-ene-1 sulfonate and (E)-8-hydroperoxy-8-methylnon-6-ene-1 sulfonate) in a 4:1 ratio. Exchanging the H2O solution for D2O where the lifetime of solution-phase singlet oxygen increases by 20-fold led to an ∼2-fold increase in the yield of hydroperoxides pointing to surface activity of singlet oxygen with the surfactant in a partially solvated state. In this airborne singlet oxygen reaction, E. coli inactivation was monitored in the presence and absence of 1 and by a LIVE/DEAD cell permeabilization assay. It was shown that the surfactant has low dark toxicity with respect to the bacteria, but in the presence of airborne singlet oxygen, it produces a synergistic enhancement of the bacterial inactivation. How the ene-derived surfactant hydroperoxides can provoke 1O2 toxicity and be of general utility is discussed.


This article originally appeared in Langmuir, available at

Copyright © 2014 American Chemical Society. ACS AuthorChoice - This is an open access article published under an ACS AuthorChoice License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article or any adaptations for non-commercial purposes.



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