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Special Issue "Advances in Biodegradable Polymers"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Marek M. Kowalczuk

1. School of Biology, Chemistry and Forensic Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK
2. Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials, Polish Academy of Sciences, Zabrze, Poland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: biocompatible and biodegradable polymers; polymer mass spectrometry; bioactive oligomers; controlled drug delivery systems; ring-opening polymerization; forensic engineering of advanced polymeric materials

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Biodegradable polymers have become materials of hope for the future, and knowledge on the relationships among their structure, properties and functions is essential for prospective safe applications of such materials in the areas of human health and the environment. Unfortunately, most plastics produced by the petrochemical industry are not biodegradable and, therefore, accumulate in the environment. This continues to pose a growing challenge for authorities at both the local and national levels; hence, there is a demand for biodegradable polymers. Applying novel biotechnological and chemical approaches enable design of macromolecules with high added value and new biodegradable and bioactive polymers or oligomers for diverse applications in medicine, the cosmetic industry and agriculture are recently developed.

At the initial stages of the development of biodegradable polymers, research was focused on the effect of macromolecular architecture on final biodegradable properties. Unfortunately, aspects such as bio-safety of biodegradable polymers or nano-safety of their composites were, and still are, frequently neglected. In an effort to make biodegradable polymers safe, methodology of forensic engineering of advanced polymeric materials (FEAPM) is currently being developed, which should help to define and minimize potential failure of novel polymer products.

The aim of this Special Issue is to present a contemporary overview of recent developments in the field of biodegradable polymers. Reviews, full papers, and short communications, covering the aspects of the current trends in expansion of such polymeric materials are all welcome.

Prof. Dr. Marek M. Kowalczuk
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • synthesis of biodegradable polymers
  • structure-property relationships of biodegradable polymers
  • novel analytical approaches for characterization of biodegradable polymers
  • chemical modification of biodegradable polymers
  • biosafety of biodegradable polymeric materials
  • commercial applications of biodegradable polymers

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Oligo-Alginate with Low Molecular Mass Improves Growth and Physiological Activity of Eucomis autumnalis under Salinity Stress
Molecules 2018, 23(4), 812; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23040812
Received: 10 March 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 31 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
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Abstract
Biopolymers have become increasingly popular as biostimulators of plant growth. One of them, oligo-alginate, is a molecule that regulates plant biological processes and may be used in horticultural practice as a plant growth regulator. Biostimulators are mainly used to improve plant tolerance to
[...] Read more.
Biopolymers have become increasingly popular as biostimulators of plant growth. One of them, oligo-alginate, is a molecule that regulates plant biological processes and may be used in horticultural practice as a plant growth regulator. Biostimulators are mainly used to improve plant tolerance to abiotic stresses, including salinity. The aim of the study was to assess the effects of salinity and oligo-alginate of various molecular masses on the growth and physiological activity of Eucomis autumnalis. The species is an ornamental and medicinal plant that has been used for a long time in the traditional medicine of South Africa. The bulbs of E. autumnalis were coated using depolymerized sodium alginate of molecular mass 32,000; 42,000, and 64,000 g mol−1. All of these oligo-alginates fractions stimulated plant growth, and the effect was the strongest for the fraction of 32,000 g mol−1. This fraction was then selected for the second stage of the study, when plants were exposed to salt stress evoked by the presence of 100 mM NaCl. We found that the oligo-alginate coating mitigated the negative effects of salinity. Plants treated with the oligomer and watered with NaCl showed smaller reduction in the weight of the above-ground parts and bulbs, pigment content and antioxidant activity as compared with those not treated with the oligo-alginate. The study demonstrated for the first time that low molecular mass oligo-alginate may be used as plant biostimulator that limits negative effects of salinity in E. autumnalis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Development of Antimicrobial Biocomposite Films to Preserve the Quality of Bread
Molecules 2018, 23(1), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23010212
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3268 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study focused on the development of gelatin-based films with incorporation of microcrystalline cellulose as reinforcement material. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), and black pepper (Piper nigrum) oleoresins containing antimicrobial compounds of natural origin were incorporated
[...] Read more.
This study focused on the development of gelatin-based films with incorporation of microcrystalline cellulose as reinforcement material. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), and black pepper (Piper nigrum) oleoresins containing antimicrobial compounds of natural origin were incorporated into the films. The mechanical, thermal, optical, and structural properties, as well as color, seal strength and permeability to water vapor, light, and oil of the films were determined. Adding oleoresins to the gelatin matrix increased the elongation of the material and significantly diminished its permeability to water vapor and oil. Evaluation of the potential use of films containing different oleoresins as bread packaging material was influenced by the film properties. The biocomposite film containing oleoresin from black pepper was the most effective packaging material for maintaining bread’s quality characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biodegradable Polymers)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Precision Aliphatic Polyesters via Segmer Assembly Polymerization
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23020452
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 13 February 2018 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 18 February 2018
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Abstract
Precise structure-property relation of a biodegradable polymer (e.g., aliphatic polyester) is anticipated only if monomer units and chiral centers are arranged in a defined primary sequence as a biomacromolecule. An emerging synthetic methodology, namely segmer assembly polymerization (SAP), is introduced in this paper
[...] Read more.
Precise structure-property relation of a biodegradable polymer (e.g., aliphatic polyester) is anticipated only if monomer units and chiral centers are arranged in a defined primary sequence as a biomacromolecule. An emerging synthetic methodology, namely segmer assembly polymerization (SAP), is introduced in this paper to reveal the latest progress in polyester synthesis. Almost any periodic polyester envisioned can be synthesized via SAP using a programed linear or cyclic monomer. In this context, the macroscopic properties of a biodegradable polymer are fundamentally determined by microstructural information through a bottom-up approach. It can be highlighted that SAP ideally combines the precision of organic synthesis and the high efficiency of a polymerization reaction. Previously reported strategies including nucleophilic displacement, polyesterification, cross-metathesis polymerization (CMP), ring-opening polymerization (ROP), ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) and entropy-driven ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ED-ROMP) are critically reviewed in this paper to shed light on precision synthesis of aliphatic polyesters via SAP. Emerging yet challenging, SAP is a paradigm which reflects the convergence of organic and polymer chemistries and is also an efficient pathway to microstructural control. The current status, future challenges and promising trends in this realm are analyzed and discussed in this overview of the state-of-the-art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Biodegradable and Biocompatible Polyhydroxy-alkanoates (PHA): Auspicious Microbial Macromolecules for Pharmaceutical and Therapeutic Applications
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23020362
Received: 23 January 2018 / Revised: 6 February 2018 / Accepted: 7 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (629 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are bio-based microbial biopolyesters; their stiffness, elasticity, crystallinity and degradability are tunable by the monomeric composition, selection of microbial production strain, substrates, process parameters during production, and post-synthetic processing; they display biological alternatives for diverse technomers of petrochemical origin. This, together
[...] Read more.
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are bio-based microbial biopolyesters; their stiffness, elasticity, crystallinity and degradability are tunable by the monomeric composition, selection of microbial production strain, substrates, process parameters during production, and post-synthetic processing; they display biological alternatives for diverse technomers of petrochemical origin. This, together with the fact that their monomeric and oligomeric in vivo degradation products do not exert any toxic or elsewhere negative effect to living cells or tissue of humans or animals, makes them highly stimulating for various applications in the medical field. This article provides an overview of PHA application in the therapeutic, surgical and tissue engineering area, and reviews strategies to produce PHA at purity levels high enough to be used in vivo. Tested applications of differently composed PHA and advanced follow-up products as carrier materials for controlled in vivo release of anti-cancer drugs or antibiotics, as scaffolds for tissue engineering, as guidance conduits for nerve repair or as enhanced sutures, implants or meshes are discussed from both a biotechnological and a material-scientific perspective. The article also describes the use of traditional processing techniques for production of PHA-based medical devices, such as melt-spinning, melt extrusion, or solvent evaporation, and emerging processing techniques like 3D-printing, computer-aided wet-spinning, laser perforation, and electrospinning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biodegradable Polymers)
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