The method of adding a specific surfactants as developer improvers, not just as wetting agents, has been used in developers in the past and some almost certainly still use them. Agfa, Ilford, Kodak & Fuji all have Patents covering their use.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
So the answer to Clayne's question is probably yes in theory, but very likely less so in practice because it would be better to add them at the emulsion coating stage which gives greater benefits/effects.
Agfa's 1930's work on surfactants as an aid to elimination air bubbles threw up unexpected results which triggered a number of Patents. Somewhere I have the details and references.
Mason touches on the subject without giving much in terms of references except to work by James (at Kodak).