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Topical Collection "Frontiers in Polymeric Materials"

Editor

Dr. Marta Fernández-García
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Institute of Polymer Science and Technology, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid, Spain
Interests: polymer chemistry; synthesis and modification of polymers; antimicrobial polymers; active surfaces; material characterization
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

More than a century has elapsed since Staudinger defined the terms macromolecule and polymer. The era of plastics has contributed enormously to the development of the economy, health and well-being. For a long time, they have allowed a reduction in weight, which meant a decrease in the consumption of fuel, faster transport and greater globalization. We have to do nothing more than look at the development in the last 50 years in medical devices and instruments, medicines or therapies to understand what success the science and technology of polymeric materials has brought. Despite all the advantages, their massive use in some applications has also involved a serious problem of pollution (plastic waste) to the environment. In this new era, scientists have to face new challenges, more sustainable plastics, less waste, better recycling, new polymer chemistry, and many more, to create a better future life.

This Topical Collection aims to collect all the advances related to polymeric materials. Both original contributions and reviews are welcome.

Dr. Marta Fernández-García
Collection 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 collection 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.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. 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

  • synthetic polymers
  • natural polymers
  • bio-based polymers
  • polymerization
  • block copolymers
  • micelles
  • polymer chemistry
  • hybrid materials
  • (nano)composites
  • (hydro)gels
  • networks
  • (bio)applications
  • degradability
  • recycling

Published Papers (2 papers)

2021

Article
Thermally-Induced Shape-Memory Behavior of Degradable Gelatin-Based Networks
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(11), 5892; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115892 - 31 May 2021
Viewed by 400
Abstract
Shape-memory hydrogels (SMH) are multifunctional, actively-moving polymers of interest in biomedicine. In loosely crosslinked polymer networks, gelatin chains may form triple helices, which can act as temporary net points in SMH, depending on the presence of salts. Here, we show programming and initiation [...] Read more.
Shape-memory hydrogels (SMH) are multifunctional, actively-moving polymers of interest in biomedicine. In loosely crosslinked polymer networks, gelatin chains may form triple helices, which can act as temporary net points in SMH, depending on the presence of salts. Here, we show programming and initiation of the shape-memory effect of such networks based on a thermomechanical process compatible with the physiological environment. The SMH were synthesized by reaction of glycidylmethacrylated gelatin with oligo(ethylene glycol) (OEG) α,ω-dithiols of varying crosslinker length and amount. Triple helicalization of gelatin chains is shown directly by wide-angle X-ray scattering and indirectly via the mechanical behavior at different temperatures. The ability to form triple helices increased with the molar mass of the crosslinker. Hydrogels had storage moduli of 0.27–23 kPa and Young’s moduli of 215–360 kPa at 4 °C. The hydrogels were hydrolytically degradable, with full degradation to water-soluble products within one week at 37 °C and pH = 7.4. A thermally-induced shape-memory effect is demonstrated in bending as well as in compression tests, in which shape recovery with excellent shape-recovery rates Rr close to 100% were observed. In the future, the material presented here could be applied, e.g., as self-anchoring devices mechanically resembling the extracellular matrix. Full article
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Graphical abstract

Review
Plastic Degradation by Extremophilic Bacteria
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(11), 5610; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115610 - 25 May 2021
Viewed by 424
Abstract
Intensive exploitation, poor recycling, low repeatable use, and unusual resistance of plastics to environmental and microbiological action result in accumulation of huge waste amounts in terrestrial and marine environments, causing enormous hazard for human and animal life. In the last decades, much scientific [...] Read more.
Intensive exploitation, poor recycling, low repeatable use, and unusual resistance of plastics to environmental and microbiological action result in accumulation of huge waste amounts in terrestrial and marine environments, causing enormous hazard for human and animal life. In the last decades, much scientific interest has been focused on plastic biodegradation. Due to the comparatively short evolutionary period of their appearance in nature, sufficiently effective enzymes for their biodegradation are not available. Plastics are designed for use in conditions typical for human activity, and their physicochemical properties roughly change at extreme environmental parameters like low temperatures, salt, or low or high pH that are typical for the life of extremophilic microorganisms and the activity of their enzymes. This review represents a first attempt to summarize the extraordinarily limited information on biodegradation of conventional synthetic plastics by thermophilic, alkaliphilic, halophilic, and psychrophilic bacteria in natural environments and laboratory conditions. Most of the available data was reported in the last several years and concerns moderate extremophiles. Two main questions are highlighted in it: which extremophilic bacteria and their enzymes are reported to be involved in the degradation of different synthetic plastics, and what could be the impact of extremophiles in future technologies for resolving of pollution problems. Full article
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Figure 1

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