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Post-polymerization modification of bio-based polymers

Maximizing the high functionality of polymers derived from biomass
: Farmer, T.J.; Comerford, J.W.; Pellis, A.; Robert, T.


Polymer international 67 (2018), No.7, pp.775-789
ISSN: 0959-8103
Journal Article
Fraunhofer WKI ()
bio-based polymers; bio-based monomer; post-polymerization modification; post-polymerization functionalization; unsaturated polyester; enzymatic polymerization

The renaissance of the bio‐based chemical industry over the last 20 years has seen an ever growing interest in the synthesis of new bio‐based polymers. The building blocks of these new polymers, so called platform molecules, contain significantly more chemical functionality than their petrochemical counterparts (such as ethene, propene and para‐xylene). As a result bio‐based polymers often contain greater residual chemical functionality in their chains, with groups such as alkenes and hydroxyls commonly observed. These functional groups can act as sites for post‐polymerization modification (PPM), thus further extending the range of applications for bio‐based polymers by tailoring the polymers' final properties. This mini‐review highlights some of the most recent and compelling examples of how to make use of bio‐based polymers with residual functional groups for PPM. It also looks at how the emerging interdisciplinary field of enzymatic polymer synthesis allows for increased functionality in polymers by avoiding side‐reactions as a result of milder reaction conditions, and additionally offers an alternative means of polymer surface modification.