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Ionic liquids (more accurately room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs)) can be defined as materials composed of organic or inorganic cations (like imidazolium or pyridinium) and anions (e.g., nitrate, acetate, tetrafluoroborate, dicyanamide, bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide and lactate) that are liquid at or below 100 °C. The number of possible combinations of a cation and anion is estimated to reach 106, making it theoretically possible to synthesize an IL targeted for a specific application or property.
Ionic liquids (ILs) were initially hailed as a green alternative to traditional solvents because of their almost non-existent vapor pressure as ecological replacement of most common volatile solvents in industrial processes for their damaging effects on the environment. It is common knowledge that they are not as green as desired, and more thought must be put into the biological consequences of their industrial use. Still, compared to the amount of research studying their physicochemical properties and potential applications in different areas, there is a scarcity of scientific papers regarding how these substances interact with different organisms. The intent of this review was to compile the information published in this area since 2015 to allow the reader to better understand how, for example, bacteria, plants, fish, etc., react to the presence of this family of liquids. In general, lipophilicity is one of the main drivers of toxicity and thus the type of cation. The anion tends to play a minor (but not negligible) role, but more research is needed since, owing to the very nature of ILs, except for the most common ones (imidazolium and ammonium-based), many of them are subject to only one or two articles.
The entry is from 10.3390/ijms22115612
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