Evaluating Biodegradability and Environmental Impact—Fulfilling Our Social Responsibility to the Environment

The methyl ester sulfonate (MES) used in Lion’s laundry detergents is a plant-based surfactant developed with the aim of transitioning to renewable, environment-friendly resources. To evaluate MES’s environmental impact during its development, we conducted testing related to its biodegradability and impact on organisms at different levels of the food chain in natural ecosystems (algae, water fleas, fish, etc.), thereby ensuring that it is a highly environmentally acceptable ingredient. Since releasing products containing MES, Lion has regularly measured the concentration of MES in major rivers in Japan (a practice known as environmental monitoring) and has thereby confirmed that MES breaks down easily in the natural environment and therefore presents little environmental risk. Environmental safety evaluation research like this helps Lion design products with high environmental acceptability and thus plays a part in the fulfillment of Lion’s corporate social responsibility.

Research to verify the environmental acceptability of MES includes testing in accordance with officially recognized methods to ensure full legal compliance as well as additional detailed investigation of MES’s biodegradation route using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and other analytical techniques. Furthermore, we utilize our vast store of data and research insights and the latest technologies to ensure sound, efficient evaluations; for example, we utilize archived data from past research and employ software to predict environmental conditions.

R&D Case Study