The critical micelle concentrations (CMCs) of aqueous solutions of a nonionic surfactant, polyoxyl 23 lauryl ether in the presence of various concentration of urea and its derivatives were measured. The CMC of the surfactant increase in proportion to the concentration of the additives, and the CMC-raising activities increased with more and longer alkyl grups substituted in urea. The CMC shift values were successfully correlated with the cloud point shift values and the protein-denaturing activities of the additives, respectively. These results suggest that the micelle formation, clouding of the surfactant and the protein denaturation are a closely related phenomenon, and a common mechanism is operating which might be the hydrophobic interaction.
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