Peptides with specific affinities for various materials have been identified in the past three decades and utilized in materials science and engineering. A peptide’s capability to specifically interact with materials is not naturally derived but screened from a biologically constructed peptide library displayed on phages or cells. To date, due to limitations in the screening procedure, the function of screened peptides has been primarily limited to the affinity for target materials. Herein, we demonstrated the screening of surfactant-like peptides from a phage-displayed peptide library. A screened phage clone displaying a peptide showed high activity for accumulating at emulsion surfaces with certain assembled structures, resulting in stable emulsions. The surface tension for the solution of the chemically synthesized peptide decreased with increasing peptide concentration, demonstrating certain surface activity, which corresponded to the ability to decrease the surface tension of liquids (e.g., water), owing to the accumulation of molecules at the air–liquid or liquid–liquid interface. Peptides with a randomized sequence did not lower the surface tension, indicating the essential role of amino acid sequences in surface activity. Our strategy for identifying novel functional peptides from a phage-displayed peptide library can be used to expand the applicability of peptidyl materials and biosurfactants.
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