Ethoxylated glycerides have long been known as effective and safe nonionic emulsifiers. They have been used in applications as diverse as food processing, textile applications, fiber finishes, leather processing, metal working, cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, and of course, as agricultural other ingredients. In addition to their excellent emulsifying properties for oils, fats and solvents, ethoxylated triglycerides are widely recognized for their favorable human and ecotoxicological profiles. They are a preferred choice whenever sensitive environments must be protected and in cosmetic applications where they are known to mitigate the irritation potential of more aggressive surfactants.
Current United States Environmental Protection Agency regulations restrict the choices available to agricultural formulators to a single triglyceride, castor oil, with between 5 and 54 moles of ethoxylation on growing crops, raw agricultural commodities and animals. No other ethoxylated or alkoxylated glycerides are specifically approved or located on the “List of 2500”, although some companies may have letters in their files allowing specific usage. Unfortunately the agricultural formulator choosing a castor-based surfactant is exposed to cyclical price swings. This would be lessened greatly if alternatives based on soybean or canola oil were found to be satisfactory.
The present work examines the emulsification properties of several alkoxylated glycerides derived from canola oil. Comparisons are drawn with examples of castor oil and castor wax ethoxylates. The systems studied included a selection of solvent-based Emulsifiable Concentrate (EC) formulations as well as a commonly used methyl ester.