Visit the Challenge Center

InnoCentive is now Wazoku.

Food Grade Alternative for Anionic Surfactant in Enteric Applications

  • Award: $30000 USD
  • Challenge type: Reduction to Practice (RTP)
  • Challenge under evaluation

Challenge overview


Anionic surfactants as sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) can act as surfactants or emulsifiers and are used in a variety of applications. However, the use of SDS/SLS in food for human consumption is very limited in the United States and even banned in Europe. The Seeker is looking for an ingredient as an alternative for SDS/SLS, so by preference an anionic surfactant with similar (or satisfactory) behavior in a gelatin formulation suitable for enteric capsules.

This is a Reduction to Practice Challenge that requires written documentation and experimental proof-of-concept data. The Seeker will test promising solutions for their ability to meet the requirements of the Challenge.



Although certain ingredients need to become activated in the stomach, other ingredients must pass through the stomach before being activated in the intestines. Currently, gelatin-based capsules dissolve quickly in the acidic/enzymatic conditions of the stomach. To prevent this from happening, an enteric coating is applied to the capsule, altering the dissolution characteristics, thus allowing the capsule to transit the stomach without releasing the drug or nutraceutical.

The Seeker has knowledge of a gelatin-based solution that eliminates the coating step, while maintaining enteric release. The use of anionic surfactants (SDS/SLS) is extremely limited for food and pharmaceutical applications, thus the Seeker is interested in alternatives that offer similar enteric properties and applicable or allowed in Food and Pharmaceutical related products (e.g. food supplements and capsules with active pharmaceutical ingredients).

The submission to the Challenge should include the following:

  1. An explanation of the proposed Solution and how it addresses each of the Solution Requirements presented in the Detailed Description of the Challenge. This description should be accompanied by a well-articulated rationale supported by literature/patent precedents.
  2. Experimental proof-of-concept data obtained as outlined in the Detailed Description of the Challenge.

The Challenge award is contingent upon theoretical evaluation and experimental validation by the Seeker. Purely theoretical solutions (i.e. no relevant experimental data submitted) are also welcomed and these may qualify for an award of $15,000 if they are judged to meet the Solution Requirements.

To receive an award, the Solvers will have to transfer their exclusive intellectual property (IP) rights to the Seeker.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on February 22, 2022. 

Late submissions will not be considered.


What is InnoCentive?

InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an RTP Challenge?

An InnoCentive RTP (Reduction to Practice) Challenge is a prototype that proves an idea, and is similar to an InnoCentive Theoretical Challenge in its high level of detail. However, an RTP requires the Solver to submit a validated solution, either in the form of original data or a physical sample. Also, the Seeker is allowed to test the proposed solution. For details about treatment of Intellectual Property (IP) rights, please see the Challenge Specific Agreement.