It is prepared by sulfonation of dodecanol (lauryl alcohol, C12H25OH) followed by neutralisation with sodium carbonate. It is used in both industrially produced and home-made cosmetics.
Like all detergent surfactants (including soaps), it removes oils from the skin, and can cause skin irritation. It is also irritating to the eyes.
SDS can be converted by ethoxylation to sodium laureth sulfate (also called sodium lauryl ether sulfate; SLES), which is less harsh on the skin, probably because it is not as much of a protein denaturant as is the unethoxylated substance.
It is probably the most researched anionic surfactant compound.
In laboratories, SDS is commonly used in preparing proteins for polyacrylamidegel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). SDS works by disrupting non-covalent bonds in the proteins, thereby denaturing them, causing the molecules to lose their native shape (conformation).
However, the main usefulness of SDS is that the SDS anions bind to the main poly-peptide chain of all proteins at a ratio of one SDS anion for every two amino acid residues. This effectively imparts an negative charge on all proteins that is proportional to the mass of that protein (about 1.4 g SDS/g protein). This allows the proteins to be separated by mass and not by charge.
The new negative charge is significantly greater than the original charge of that protein. The electrostatic repulsion that is created by binding of SDS causes proteins to unfold into a rod-like shape thereby also eliminating differences in shape as a factor for separation in the gel.
It has recently found application as a surfactant in gas hydrate or methane hydrate formation reactions, increasing the rate of formation as much as 700 times.
SDS Buffer Recipe Preparation
10% SDS Recipe
To make 1 liter of 10% SDS add the following.
Wear a dust mask to protect you against breathing SDS powder.
100 g electrophoresis grade SDS (sodium dodecyl sulfate)
Add the power carefully to 900 ml Milli-Q H2O (Note: Avoid spreading SDS dust by measuring SDS in a closeable container or a fume hood.)
Place the container in a 65Β° water bath (with frequent stirring) to dissolve the SDS.
When SDS has dissolved, bring volume to 1 liter with Milli-Q H2O.
Safety concerns relating to SDS
A number of safety concerns about SDS have been raised in published reports. These include claims that:
SDS causes a number of skin issues (for which the non-specific term is dermatitis), with some people being affected more than others.
β Kazuyoshi Watanabe, Shuntaro Imai and Yasuhiko H. Mori. Surfactant effects on hydrate formation in an unstirred gas/liquid system: An experimental study using HFC-32 and sodium dodecyl sulfate. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Keio University, 3-14-1 Hiyoshi, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama 223-8522. Japan.Chemical Engineering Science. Volume 60, Issue 17, September 2005, Pages 4846-4857. Abstract
β Agner T. Susceptibility of atopic dermatitis patients to irritant dermatitis caused by sodium lauryl sulphate. Acta Derm Venereol. 1991;71(4):296-300. PMID 1681644
β A. Nassif, S. C. Chan, F. J. Storrs and J. M. Hanifin. Abstract: Abnormal skin irritancy in atopic dermatitis and in atopy without dermatitis. Arch Dermatol. November 1994;130(11):1402. Abstract
β 4.04.1 Marrakchi S, Maibach HI. Sodium lauryl sulfate-induced irritation in the human face: regional and age-related differences. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2006;19(3):177-80. Epub 2006 May 4. PMID 16679819
β CIR publication. Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. Journal of the American College of Toxicology. 1983 Vol. 2 (No. 7) pages 127-181.
β Loffler H, Effendy I. Skin susceptibility of atopic individuals. Department of Dermatology, University of Marburg, Germany. Contact Dermatitis. 1999 May;40(5):239-42. PMID 10344477
β Chahine L, Sempson N, Wagoner C. The effect of sodium lauryl sulfate on recurrent aphthous ulcers: a clinical study. Compend Contin Educ Dent. 1997 Dec;18(12):1238-40. PMID 9656847
β Herlofson BB, Barkvoll P. The effect of two toothpaste detergents on the frequency of recurrent aphthous ulcers. Acta Odontol Scand. 1996 Jun;54(3):150-3. PMID 8811135
β Debunking the Myth. American Cancer Society. 1998/09/23. Article
β Skin Deep Report. Environmental Working Group. Revised October 1995. SLS Rating
β Barney L. Bales, Luis Messina, Arwen Vidal, Miroslav Peric, and Otaciro Rangel Nascimento. Precision Relative Aggregation Number Determinations of SDS Micelles Using a Spin Probe. A Model of Micelle Surface Hydration. J. Phys. Chem. B. 1998 102(50)10347-10358. Abstract