Rational modification of lactams for improved efficacy in home care applications


Beyond removal of dirt, home and personal care formulations such as laundry detergents, kitchen and bathroom

cleaners aim to deliver health and hygiene benefits in line with Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan. These benefits

are currently delivered by chemical antimicrobials which have a limited efficacy on established biofilms. The

screening of a library of over 600 furanone-derived lactams has revealed variants that disrupt quorum sensing

and biofilm growth in model environments. This feasibility project aims to enhance the bioavailability and

efficacy of lactams in home care applications via rational modification of existing principal analogues. Possible

routes of derivatisation will range from introduction of charged groups for solubility, enhancing the 'active site'

functionality, and grafting complex polymeric lactam-containing materials for targeted delivery to surfaces and

biofilms. A focused library of around 10 novel analogues will be constructed, synthesised, and their anti-biofilm

efficacy will be explored against real biofilms on a range of home and industrial surfaces. The platform

opportunity of improved lactams in home care will be assessed.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Unilever U.K. Central Resources Limited, Bedford £49,938 £ 24,969


Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom £49,836


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