ingredient information
Poloxamers are nonionic triblock copolymers composed of a central hydrophobic chain of polyoxypropylene (poly(propylene oxide)) flanked by two hydrophilic chains of polyoxyethylene (poly(ethylene oxide)). The word "poloxamer" was coined by the inventor, Irving Schmolka, who received the patent for these materials in 1973.[1] Poloxamers are also known by the trade name Pluronics.[2] Because the lengths of the polymer blocks can be customized, many different poloxamers exist that have slightly different properties. For the generic term "poloxamer", these copolymers are commonly named with the letter "P" (for poloxamer) followed by three digits, the first two digits x 100 give the approximate molecular mass of the polyoxypropylene core, and the last digit x 10 gives the percentage polyoxyethylene content (e.g., P407 = Poloxamer with a polyoxypropylene molecular mass of 4,000 g/mol and a 70% polyoxyethylene content) . For the Pluronic tradename, coding of these copolymers starts with a letter to define its physical form at room temperature (L = liquid, P = paste, F = flake (solid)) followed by two or three digits, The first digit (two digits in a three-digit number) in the numerical designation, multiplied by 300, indicates the approximate molecular weight of the hydrophobe; and the last digit x 10 gives the percentage polyoxyethylene content (e.g., L61 = Pluronic with a polyoxypropylene molecular mass of 1,800 g/mol and a 10% polyoxyethylene content). In the example given, poloxamer 181 (P181) = Pluronic L61. Because of their amphiphilic structure, the polymers have surfactant properties that make them useful in industrial applications. Among other things, they can be used to increase the water solubility of hydrophobic, oily substances or otherwise increase the miscibility of two substances with different hydrophobicities. For this reason, these polymers are commonly used in industrial applications, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. They have also been used evaluated for various drug delivery applications and were shown to sensitize drug resistant cancers to chemotherapy. In bioprocess applications, pluronic is also used in cell culture media for its cell cushioning effects because its addition leads to less stressful shear conditions for cells in reactors.