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Polymers 2018, 10(11), 1266; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10111266

Enzymatic Degradation of Star Poly(ε-Caprolactone) with Different Central Units

1
Department of Chemistry, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
2
Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology GmbH, Konrad Lorenz Strasse 20, 3430 Tulln an der Donau, Austria
3
Institute for Environmental Biotechnology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Konrad Lorenz Strasse 20, 3430 Tulln an der Donau, Austria
4
Procter & Gamble, Cobalt 12A, Silver Fox Way, Cobalt Business Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE27 0QW, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 9 November 2018 / Accepted: 11 November 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocatalytic Functionalization and Degradation of Synthetic Polymers)
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Abstract

Four-arm star poly(ε-caprolactone) with a central poly(ethylene glycol) PEG unit bridged with 2,2-bis(methyl) propionic acid, (PCL)2-b-PEG-b-(PCL)2, and six-arm star PCL homopolymer with a central dipentaerythritol units were hydrolysed using a lipase from Pseudomonas cepacia and the Thermobifida cellulosilytica cutinase Thc_Cut1. For comparative analysis, Y-shaped copolymers containing methylated PEG bridged with bisMPA, MePEG-(PCL)2, and linear triblock copolymers PCL-b-PEG-b-PCL were also subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis. The hydrophilic nature of the polymers was determined using contact angle analysis, showing that a higher PEG content exhibited a lower contact angle and higher surface wettability. Enzymatic hydrolysis was monitored by % mass loss, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). A higher rate of mass loss was found for lipase catalysed hydrolysis of those polymers with the highest PEG content, leading to significant surface erosion and increase in crystallinity within the first two days. Liquid chromatography (LC) and size exclusion chromatography (SEC) of samples incubated with the cutinase showed a significant decrease in molecular weight, increase in dispersity, and release of ε-CL monomer units after 6 h of incubation. View Full-Text
Keywords: polycaprolactone; enzyme; biodegradation polycaprolactone; enzyme; biodegradation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Blackwell, C.J.; Haernvall, K.; Guebitz, G.M.; Groombridge, M.; Gonzales, D.; Khosravi, E. Enzymatic Degradation of Star Poly(ε-Caprolactone) with Different Central Units. Polymers 2018, 10, 1266.

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