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Biosynthesis and Biodegradation—Eco-Concept for Polymer Materials

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (5 July 2023) | Viewed by 16414

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials, Polish Academy of Sciences, 41-819 Zabrze, Poland
Interests: polyester synthesis; (bio)degradation studies; organic recycling; biodegradable polymers
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Research on the design, characterization, production, and development of environmentally friendly and sustainable materials with higher efficiency and lower costs, in particular resource-efficient materials, is a rapidly growing field. The European Union strategy identifies the most important actions that national and regional authorities as well as industry should take. The current advanced production chain combines various intermediate links, such as raw material suppliers, producers of high-value polymer materials, and waste recyclers. Both biosynthesis, such as the production of complex chemicals from simpler precursors as a result of enzymatic reactions by a living organism, and biodebradation, such as the decomposition of substances catalyzed by enzymes in vivo, fit into the assumptions of green chemistry, which uses a set of principles that limit or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances when designing, manufacturing, and using chemical products.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to provide a contemporary overview of the latest developments in the field of materials, in particular, the latest breakthroughs and approaches in the science of bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers leading to the development of the new-generation. resource-efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable polymer materials as a new eco-concept for polymer materials for the circular economy. Reviews, original scientific research articles, case reports, letters, and short communications, covering aspects of the current trends in the expansion of such materials are all welcome.

Dr. Wanda Sikorska
Dr. Joanna Rydz
Dr. Marta Musioł
Guest Editors

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • materials for a sustainable future
  • current barriers and future needs of environmentally friendly polymers
  • latest breakthroughs and approaches in the molecular sciences
  • bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers based on natural, renewable, and synthetic polymers
  • synthesis, design, characterization, and development of innovative, technologically advanced, adaptable, and multifunctional bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers in chemistry, biology, and medicine
  • relationships between structure, properties, functions, and performance of bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers
  • sustainability, recycling, environmental issues of bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers
  • commercial applications: concepts, methodologies, and tools
  • applications in the medical, pharmaceutical, dental, packaging, food service, agricultural, horticultural, aeronautical, automotive, transportation, building, construction, consumer goods, electric, and electronic sectors
  • 3D printing for personalized consumer products

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 179 KiB  
Editorial
Biosynthesis and Biodegradation—Eco-Concept for Polymer Materials
by Joanna Rydz, Wanda Sikorska and Marta Musioł
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(5), 2674; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25052674 - 26 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1125
Abstract
Polymers have become essential for various aspects of modern life, including packaging, transportation, and electronics [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biosynthesis and Biodegradation—Eco-Concept for Polymer Materials)

Research

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24 pages, 6547 KiB  
Article
Degradation of Polylactic Acid/Polypropylene Carbonate Films in Soil and Phosphate Buffer and Their Potential Usefulness in Agriculture and Agrochemistry
by Izabela Szymanek, Martin Cvek, Diana Rogacz, Arkadiusz Żarski, Kamila Lewicka, Vladimir Sedlarik and Piotr Rychter
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(1), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25010653 - 4 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1440
Abstract
Blends of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) with poly(propylene carbonate) (PPC) are currently in the phase of intensive study due to their promising properties and environmentally friendly features. Intensive study and further commercialization of PPC-based polymers or their blends, as usual, will soon face the [...] Read more.
Blends of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) with poly(propylene carbonate) (PPC) are currently in the phase of intensive study due to their promising properties and environmentally friendly features. Intensive study and further commercialization of PPC-based polymers or their blends, as usual, will soon face the problem of their waste occurring in the environment, including soil. For this reason, it is worth comprehensively studying the degradation rate of these polymers over a long period of time in soil and, for comparison, in phosphate buffer to understand the difference in this process and evaluate the potential application of such materials toward agrochemical and agricultural purposes. The degradation rate of the samples was generally accompanied by weight loss and a decrease in molecular weight, which was facilitated by the presence of PPC. The incubation of the samples in the aqueous media yielded greater surface erosions compared to the degradation in soil, which was attributed to the leaching of the low molecular degradation species out of the foils. The phytotoxicity study confirmed the no toxic impact of the PPC on tested plants, indicating it as a “green” material, which is crucial information for further, more comprehensive study of this polymer toward any type of sustainable application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biosynthesis and Biodegradation—Eco-Concept for Polymer Materials)
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21 pages, 5245 KiB  
Article
Biohythane Production in Hydrogen-Oriented Dark Fermentation of Aerobic Granular Sludge (AGS) Pretreated with Solidified Carbon Dioxide (SCO2)
by Joanna Kazimierowicz, Marcin Dębowski and Marcin Zieliński
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(5), 4442; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24054442 - 23 Feb 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1348
Abstract
Though deemed a prospective method, the bioconversion of organic waste to biohydrogen via dark fermentation (DF) has multiple drawbacks and limitations. Technological difficulties of hydrogen fermentation may, in part, be eliminated by making DF a viable method for biohythane production. Aerobic granular sludge [...] Read more.
Though deemed a prospective method, the bioconversion of organic waste to biohydrogen via dark fermentation (DF) has multiple drawbacks and limitations. Technological difficulties of hydrogen fermentation may, in part, be eliminated by making DF a viable method for biohythane production. Aerobic granular sludge (AGS) is a little-known organic waste spurring a growing interest in the municipal sector; its characteristics indicate the feasibility of its use as a substrate for biohydrogen production. The major goal of the present study was to determine the effect of AGS pretreatment with solidified carbon dioxide (SCO2) on the yield of H2 (biohythane) production during anaerobic digestion (AD). It was found that an increasing dose of SCO2 caused an increase in concentrations of COD, N-NH4+, and P-PO43− in the supernatant at the SCO2/AGS volume ratios from 0 to 0.3. The AGS pretreatment at SCO2/AGS ratios within the range of 0.1–0.3 was shown to enable the production of biogas with over 8% H2 (biohythane) content. The highest yield of biohythane production, reaching 481 ± 23 cm3/gVS, was obtained at the SCO2/AGS ratio of 0.3. This variant produced 79.0 ± 6% CH4 and 8.9 ± 2% H2. The higher SCO2 doses applied caused a significant decrease in the pH value of AGS, modifying the anaerobic bacterial community to the extent that diminished anaerobic digestion performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biosynthesis and Biodegradation—Eco-Concept for Polymer Materials)
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16 pages, 3930 KiB  
Article
Properties and Printability of the Synthesized Hydrogel Based on GelMA
by Nadezhda V. Arguchinskaya, Elena V. Isaeva, Anastas A. Kisel, Evgeny E. Beketov, Tatiana S. Lagoda, Denis S. Baranovskii, Nina D. Yakovleva, Grigory A. Demyashkin, Liudmila N. Komarova, Svetlana O. Astakhina, Nikolai E. Shubin, Peter V. Shegay, Sergey A. Ivanov and Andrey D. Kaprin
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2121; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032121 - 20 Jan 2023
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3377
Abstract
Gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) has recently attracted increasing attention. Unlike other hydrogels, it allows for the adjustment of the mechanical properties using such factors as degree of functionalization, concentration, and photocrosslinking parameters. In this study, GelMA with a high degree of substitution (82.75 ± [...] Read more.
Gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) has recently attracted increasing attention. Unlike other hydrogels, it allows for the adjustment of the mechanical properties using such factors as degree of functionalization, concentration, and photocrosslinking parameters. In this study, GelMA with a high degree of substitution (82.75 ± 7.09%) was synthesized, and its suitability for extrusion printing, cytocompatibility, and biocompatibility was studied. Satisfactory printing quality was demonstrated with the 15% concentration hydrogel. The high degree of functionalization led to a decrease in the ability of human adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) to adhere to the GelMA surface. During the first 3 days after sowing, proliferation was observed. Degradation in animals after subcutaneous implantation was slowed down. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biosynthesis and Biodegradation—Eco-Concept for Polymer Materials)
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17 pages, 3488 KiB  
Article
Biological Solubilisation of Leather Industry Waste in Anaerobic Conditions: Effect of Chromium (III) Presence, Pre-Treatments and Temperature Strategies
by Juana Fernández-Rodríguez, Beñat Lorea and Gustavo González-Gaitano
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(21), 13647; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232113647 - 7 Nov 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2026
Abstract
Collagen-based polymers and their blends have attracted considerable interest for new materials development due to their unique combination of biocompatibility, physical and mechanical properties and durability. Leather, a modified natural biopolymer made from animal rawhide and the first synthetic collagen-based polymer known since [...] Read more.
Collagen-based polymers and their blends have attracted considerable interest for new materials development due to their unique combination of biocompatibility, physical and mechanical properties and durability. Leather, a modified natural biopolymer made from animal rawhide and the first synthetic collagen-based polymer known since the dawn of civilization, combines all these features. Rawhide is transformed into leather by tanning, a process in which the collagen is cross-linked with different agents to make it stronger and more durable and to prevent its decay. Research on the development of environmentally friendly procedures and sustainable materials with higher efficiency and lower costs is a rapidly growing field, and leather industry is not an exemption. Chrome-tanned and vegetable-tanned (chromium-free) shavings from the leather industry present a high content of organic matter, yet they are considered recalcitrant waste to be degraded by microbiological processes like anaerobic digestion (AD), a solid technology to treat organic waste in a circular economy framework. In this technology however, the solubilisation of organic solid substrates is a significant challenge to improving the efficiency of the process. In this context, we have investigated the process of microbial decomposition of leather wastes from the tannery industry to search for the conditions that produce optimal solubilisation of organic matter. Chrome-tanned and chromium-free leather shavings were pre-treated and anaerobically digested under different temperature ranges (thermophilic–55 °C-, intermediate–42 °C- and mesophilic–35 °C) to evaluate the effect on the solubilisation of the organic matter of the wastes. The results showed that the presence of chromium significantly inhibited the solubilization (up to 60%) in the mesophilic and intermediate ranges; this is the fastest and most efficient solubilization reached under thermophilic conditions using the chromium-free leather shaving as substrates. The most suitable temperature for the solubilization was the thermophilic regime (55 °C) for both chromium-free and chrome-tanned shavings. No significant differences were observed in the thermophilic anaerobic digestion of chromium-free shavings when a pre-treatment was applied, since the solubilisation was already high without pre-treatment. However, the pre-treatments significantly improved the solubilisation in the mesophilic and intermediate configurations; the former pre-treatment was better suited in terms of performance and cost-effectiveness compared to the thermophilic range. Thus, the solubilisation of chromium-free tannery solid wastes can be significantly improved by applying appropriate pre-treatments at lower temperature ranges; this is of utter importance when optimizing anaerobic processes of recalcitrant organic wastes, with the added benefit of substantial energy savings in the scaling up of the process in an optimised circular economy scenario. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biosynthesis and Biodegradation—Eco-Concept for Polymer Materials)
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19 pages, 4424 KiB  
Article
Polymeric Nanorepellent Systems Containing Geraniol and Icaridin Aimed at Repelling Aedes aegypti
by Lucas Rannier Melo de Andrade, Mariana Guilger-Casagrande, Tais Germano-Costa and Renata de Lima
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(15), 8317; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23158317 - 27 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1996
Abstract
Repellents are among the leading products used against diseases transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. However, their indiscriminate use or high concentrations can cause severe adverse reactions, particularly in children and pregnant women. To protect them, nanotechnology is a promising tool to encapsulate [...] Read more.
Repellents are among the leading products used against diseases transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. However, their indiscriminate use or high concentrations can cause severe adverse reactions, particularly in children and pregnant women. To protect them, nanotechnology is a promising tool to encapsulate active compounds against degradation, increase their effectiveness, and decrease their toxicity, as it can promote the modified release of the active compound. This study aimed to develop polymeric nanocapsules containing the repellent actives geraniol and icaridin using low concentrations of the active component, with the objective of promoting effective activity and greater safety against adverse reactions. The nanocapsules were developed by the interfacial deposition method, and the physicochemical properties of the nanocapsules were evaluated using dynamic light scattering (DLS), nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), zeta potential, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), atomic force microscopy (AFM), release kinetics assay, and mathematical modeling. Cell viability was assessed by the MTT assay and genotoxicity analysis using the comet assay. The developed nanocapsules containing geraniol and icaridin showed mean diameters of 260 nm and 314 nm, respectively, with a polydispersity index < 0.2. The nanocapsules showed encapsulation efficiency values of 73.7 ± 0.1% for icaridin and 98.7 ± 0.1% for geraniol. Morphological analysis showed spherical nanocapsules with low polydispersity. The kinetic parameters calculated using the Korsmeyer–Peppas model indicated an anomalous release profile. Cell viability and genotoxicity analyses showed that the nanocapsules did not alter cell viability or damage DNA. The results demonstrate a promising nanostructured system with good physicochemical characteristics and good stability, with repellent activity against Aedes aegypti. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biosynthesis and Biodegradation—Eco-Concept for Polymer Materials)
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18 pages, 3953 KiB  
Article
Nematic-to-Isotropic Phase Transition in Poly(L-Lactide) with Addition of Cyclodextrin during Abiotic Degradation Study
by Joanna Rydz, Khadar Duale, Henryk Janeczek, Wanda Sikorska, Andrzej Marcinkowski, Marta Musioł, Marcin Godzierz, Aleksandra Kordyka, Michał Sobota, Cristian Peptu, Neli Koseva and Marek Kowalczuk
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(14), 7693; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23147693 - 12 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1393
Abstract
Poly(L-lactide) is capable of self-assembly into a nematic mesophase under the influence of temperature and mechanical stresses. Therefore, subsequent poly(L-lactide) films were obtained and characterized, showing nematic liquid crystal properties both before and after degradation. Herein, we present that, [...] Read more.
Poly(L-lactide) is capable of self-assembly into a nematic mesophase under the influence of temperature and mechanical stresses. Therefore, subsequent poly(L-lactide) films were obtained and characterized, showing nematic liquid crystal properties both before and after degradation. Herein, we present that, by introducing β-cyclodextrin into the polymer matrix, it is possible to obtain a chiral nematic mesophase during pressing, regardless of temperature and time. The obtained poly(L-lactide) films exhibiting liquid crystal properties were subjected to degradation tests and the influence of degradation on these properties was determined. Thermotropic phase behavior was investigated using polarized optical microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and differential scanning calorimetry. The degradation process demonstrated an influence on the liquid crystal properties of pressed polymer films. The colored planar texture of the chiral nematic mesophase, which was not observed prior to degradation in films without the addition of β-cyclodextrin, appeared after incubation in water as a result of the entrapment of degradation products in the polymer matrix. These unusual tailor-made properties, obtained in liquid crystals in (bio)degradable polymers using a simple method, demonstrate the potential for advanced photonic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biosynthesis and Biodegradation—Eco-Concept for Polymer Materials)
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Review

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33 pages, 1844 KiB  
Review
Characteristics of Solidified Carbon Dioxide and Perspectives for Its Sustainable Application in Sewage Sludge Management
by Joanna Kazimierowicz and Marcin Dębowski
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2324; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032324 - 24 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1954
Abstract
Appropriate management is necessary to mitigate the environmental impacts of wastewater sludge. One lesser-known technology concerns the use of solidified CO2 for dewatering, sanitization, and digestion improvement. Solidified CO2 is a normal byproduct of natural gas treatment processes and can also [...] Read more.
Appropriate management is necessary to mitigate the environmental impacts of wastewater sludge. One lesser-known technology concerns the use of solidified CO2 for dewatering, sanitization, and digestion improvement. Solidified CO2 is a normal byproduct of natural gas treatment processes and can also be produced by dedicated biogas upgrading technologies. The way solidified CO2 is sourced is fully in line with the principles of the circular economy and carbon dioxide mitigation. The aim of this review is to summarize the current state of knowledge on the production and application of solid CO2 in the pretreatment and management of sewage sludge. Using solidified CO2 for sludge conditioning causes effective lysis of microbial cells, which destroys activated sludge flocs, promotes biomass fragmentation, facilitates efficient dispersion of molecular associations, modifies cell morphology, and denatures macromolecules. Solidified CO2 can be used as an attractive tool to sanitize and dewater sludge and as a pretreatment technology to improve methane digestion and fermentative hydrogen production. Furthermore, it can also be incorporated into a closed CO2 cycle of biogas production–biogas upgrading–solidified CO2 production–sludge disintegration–digestion–biogas production. This feature not only bolsters the technology’s capacity to improve the performance and cost-effectiveness of digestion processes, but can also help reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions, a crucial advantage in terms of environment protection. This new approach to solidified CO2 generation and application largely counteracts previous limitations, which are mainly related to the low cost-effectiveness of the production process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biosynthesis and Biodegradation—Eco-Concept for Polymer Materials)
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