anionic detergent

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Related to anionic detergent: cationic detergent, nonionic detergent

anionic detergent

A detergent whose hydrophilic activity hinges on an anionic group. Fatty acids are natural anionic detergents (AD), but are neither used as detergents nor function as such in biological systems; the main synthetic ADs are aliphatic sulphate esters (e.g., sodium dodecyl sulphate).

anionic detergent

A natural or synthetic chemical substance such as a soap, which does not ionize when placed in water..
See also: detergent

an·i·on·ic de·ter·gent

(anī-onik dĕ-tĕrjĕnt)
Cleansing agent that carries a net negative charge on a lipidlike molecule and exerts a limited antibacterial effect (e.g,. a soap).


1. purifying, cleansing.
2. an agent that purifies or cleanses.

anionic detergent
a substance which when dissolved contributes a hydrophobic ion which carries a negative charge to the solution. Soap is an example.
cationic detergent
the dissociated substance produces a positively charged hydrophobic ion. The quarternary ammonium compounds are the best known examples. They are innocuous if properly diluted but the concentrates are very poisonous.
nonionic surface-acting detergent
e.g. the polyoxyethylenes are regarded as nonpoisonous.