Special Issue "Biodegradable Polymers"

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2017).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Naozumi Teramoto
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Chiba Institute of Technology, 2-17-1 Tsudanuma, Narashino, Chiba 275-0016, Japan
Interests: biomaterial; bio-based polymer; bioplastics; biodegradable polymer; biopolymer; composite material comprising a polymer matrix
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Takashi Tsujimoto
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, University of Osaka, 2-1 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
Fax: +81 6 6879 7367
Interests: bio-based polymer; enzymatic polymerization; biodegradable polymer; composite material; shape memory polymer; porous material

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Synthetic polymers developed extensively in the 20th century, and they presently cover many applications. Most of them are non-biodegradable and sometimes cause problems in the environment and in living bodies. As a solution to these problems, for a few decades now, researchers have been developing biodegradable polymers. Though some of biodegradable polymers are available on the market, choices are still limited. Research and development on biodegradable polymers is steady and continuous, and some remarkable studies are being carried out for medical use, such as degradable biomaterials for drug delivery and regenerative medicine. We should always continue to update our information and knowledge on biodegradable polymers.

This Special Issue covers the preparation, characterization, application, property evaluation, and degradation studies on synthetic biodegradable polymers and natural polymers, as well as their hybrids and composites. The aim of this issue is to update recent knowledge and to broaden our perspective on biodegradable polymers in environmental and medical applications.

The success of the first call has encouraged us to launch a 2nd round call for papers with the deadline set as January 31st, 2017.

Dr. Naozumi Teramoto
Dr. Takashi Tsujimoto
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • biodegradable polymer
  • natural polymer
  • aliphatic polyester
  • biomaterial
  • environmentally-benign polymers

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Nanoprecipitation of HEMA-CLn Based Polymers for the Production of Biodegradable Nanoparticles
Polymers 2017, 9(9), 389; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym9090389 - 23 Aug 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
The control over the size distribution and stability of polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) is crucial in many of their applications, especially in the biomedical field. These characteristics are typically influenced by the production method and the nature of the starting material. To investigate these [...] Read more.
The control over the size distribution and stability of polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) is crucial in many of their applications, especially in the biomedical field. These characteristics are typically influenced by the production method and the nature of the starting material. To investigate these aspects, the controlled radical polymerization of functionalized methacrylates constituted by 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) functionalized with a controlled number of ε-caprolactone (CL) units (HEMA-CLn), was carried out via reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer polymerization (RAFT) in solution. The living reaction allows for good control over the molar mass of the final polymer with a low molar mass dispersity. The obtained polymer solutions were nanoprecipitated in order to produce NPs suitable for drug delivery applications with narrow particle size distribution and a wide size range (from 60 to 250 nm). The NP synthesis has been performed using a mixing device, in order to control the parameters involved in the nanoprecipitation process. As already seen for similar systems, the size of the produced NPs is a function of the polymer concentration during the nanoprecipitation process. Nevertheless, when the polymer concentration is kept constant, the NP size is influenced by the chemical structure of the polymer used, in terms of the presence of PEG (poly(ethylene glycol)), the degree of RAFT polymerization, and the length of the caprolactone side chain. These characteristics were also found to influence the stability and degradation properties of the produced NPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
The Significant Influence of Bacterial Reaction on Physico-Chemical Property Changes of Biodegradable Natural and Synthetic Polymers Using Escherichia coli
Polymers 2017, 9(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym9040121 - 25 Mar 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
Escherichia coli (E. coli) was used to activate hydrolysis reaction along with biodegradation in natural and synthetic fibers to identify possibilities as alternative substitutes for textile wastes using chemical solutions and enzymes. To confirm the reaction between the bacterial infections of E. coli [...] Read more.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) was used to activate hydrolysis reaction along with biodegradation in natural and synthetic fibers to identify possibilities as alternative substitutes for textile wastes using chemical solutions and enzymes. To confirm the reaction between the bacterial infections of E. coli and the excessively abundant interstitial spaces of the fibers, various types of natural and synthetic fibers such as cotton, wool, polyethylene terephalate (PET), polyadmide (PA), polyethylene (PE), and polypropylene (PP) were used to confirm the physico-chemical reactions. Tensile strength analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and contact angle analysis were used to determine the physico-chemical property changes of the fiber by the bacteria. When biofilm was formed on the fiber surface, various physical changes such as the following were observed: (i) in the analysis of tensile strength, all except PA and PP were decreased and a decrease in cotton fibers was noticeable (ii) depending on the type of fibers, the degree of roughness was different, but generally the surface became rough. In this study, the change of roughness was the most severe on the cotton fiber surface and the change of PET and PA fiber was relatively small. It was found that the intensity peak of oxygen was increased, except for the in cases of PA and PP, through the change of chemical properties by XPS analysis. Changes in topographical properties on the surface through contact angle analysis were stronger in hydrophilic properties, and in the case of cotton, completely hydrophilic surfaces were formed. Through this study, PA and PP fibers, which are Olefin fibers, were theoretically free of physicochemical and topographical changes since there were no functional groups that could trigger the hydrolysis reaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Reaction-Multi Diffusion Model for Nutrient Release and Autocatalytic Degradation of PLA-Coated Controlled-Release Fertilizer
Polymers 2017, 9(3), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym9030111 - 22 Mar 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
A mathematical model for the reaction-diffusion equation is developed to describe the nutrient release profiles and degradation of poly(lactic acid) (PLA)-coated controlled-release fertilizer. A multi-diffusion model that consists of coupled partial differential equations is used to study the diffusion and chemical reaction (autocatalytic [...] Read more.
A mathematical model for the reaction-diffusion equation is developed to describe the nutrient release profiles and degradation of poly(lactic acid) (PLA)-coated controlled-release fertilizer. A multi-diffusion model that consists of coupled partial differential equations is used to study the diffusion and chemical reaction (autocatalytic degradation) simultaneously. The model is solved using an analytical-numerical method. Firstly, the model equation is transformed using the Laplace transformation as the Laplace transform cannot be inverted analytically. Numerical inversion of the Laplace transform is used by employing the Zakian method. The solution is useful in predicting the nutrient release profiles at various diffusivity, concentration of extraction medium, and reaction rates. It also helps in explaining the transformation of autocatalytic concentration in the coating material for various reaction rates, times of reaction, and reaction-multi diffusion. The solution is also applicable to the other biodegradable polymer-coated controlled-release fertilizers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Biodegradable Polymer Properties on Antifouling Paints Activity
Polymers 2017, 9(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym9020036 - 25 Jan 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
The development of new antifouling paints requires understanding the parameters involved in antifouling activity and to develop new analytical tools for their evaluation. A series of biodegradable poly(ε-caprolactone-co-δ-valerolactone) copolymers varying by molecular weight and composition were synthesized, characterized and formulated as [...] Read more.
The development of new antifouling paints requires understanding the parameters involved in antifouling activity and to develop new analytical tools for their evaluation. A series of biodegradable poly(ε-caprolactone-co-δ-valerolactone) copolymers varying by molecular weight and composition were synthesized, characterized and formulated as antifouling paints. The physico-chemical properties such as hydration, degradation, erosion and lixiviation of paints were studied. Microfouling (bacteria and microalgae) was observed by microscopic observations in a short delay, whereas macrofouling colonization was observed by visual inspection during one year. The antifouling activity of paints was modified by varying the composition and molecular weight of copolymer. The crystallinity appears to play a major role in antifouling activity, however the involvement of other properties such as hydration, degradation or erosion remains difficult to understand. Confocal laser scanning and scanning electron microscopes were used for the evaluation of antifouling paints. Results show that microalgae seem to be a pertinent indicator of antifouling activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
A Highly Hydrophilic and Biodegradable Novel Poly(amide-imide) for Biomedical Applications
Polymers 2016, 8(12), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8120441 - 19 Dec 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
A novel biodegradable poly(amide-imide) (PAI) with good hydrophilicity was synthesized by incorporation of l-glycine into the polymer chain. For comparison purposes, a pure PAI containing no l-glycine was also synthesized with a three-step method. In this study, we evaluated the novel [...] Read more.
A novel biodegradable poly(amide-imide) (PAI) with good hydrophilicity was synthesized by incorporation of l-glycine into the polymer chain. For comparison purposes, a pure PAI containing no l-glycine was also synthesized with a three-step method. In this study, we evaluated the novel PAI’s thermal stability, hydrophilicity, solubility, biodegradability and ability to support bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell (BMSC) adhesion and growth by comparing with the pure PAI. The hydrophilic tests demonstrated that the novel PAI has possible hydrophilicity at a 38° water contact angle on the molecule surface and is about two times more hydrophilic than the pure PAI. Due to an extra unit of l-glycine in the novel PAI, the average degradation rate was about 2.4 times greater than that of the pure PAI. The preliminary biocompatibility studies revealed that all the PAIs are cell compatible, but the pure PAI exhibited much lower cell adhesion than the l-glycine-incorporated novel PAI. The hydrophilic surface of the novel PAI was more suitable for cell adhesion, suggesting that the surface hydrophilicity plays an important role in enhancing cell adhesion and growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Study of Non-Isothermal Crystallization of Polydioxanone and Analysis of Morphological Changes Occurring during Heating and Cooling Processes
Polymers 2016, 8(10), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8100351 - 28 Sep 2016
Cited by 9
Abstract
Non-isothermal crystallization kinetics of polydioxanone (PDO), a polymer with well-established applications as bioabsorbable monofilar suture, was investigated by Avrami, Mo, and isoconversional methodologies. Results showed Avrami exponents appearing in a relatively narrow range (i.e., between 3.76 and 2.77), which suggested a three-dimensional spherulitic [...] Read more.
Non-isothermal crystallization kinetics of polydioxanone (PDO), a polymer with well-established applications as bioabsorbable monofilar suture, was investigated by Avrami, Mo, and isoconversional methodologies. Results showed Avrami exponents appearing in a relatively narrow range (i.e., between 3.76 and 2.77), which suggested a three-dimensional spherulitic growth and instantaneous nucleation at high cooling rates. The nucleation mechanism changed to sporadic at low rates, with both crystallization processes being detected in the differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) cooling traces. Formation of crystals was hindered as the material crystallized because of a decrease in the motion of molecular chains. Two secondary nucleation constants were derived from calorimetric data by applying the methodology proposed by Vyazovkin and Sbirrazzuoli through the estimation of effective activation energies. In fact, typical non-isothermal crystallization analysis based on the determination of crystal growth by optical microscopy allowed secondary nucleation constants of 3.07 × 105 K2 and 1.42 × 105 K2 to be estimated. Microstructure of sutures was characterized by a stacking of lamellae perpendicularly oriented to the fiber axis and the presence of interlamellar and interfibrillar amorphous regions. The latter became enhanced during heating treatments due to loss of partial chain orientation and decrease of electronic density. Degradation under various pH media revealed different macroscopic morphologies and even a distinct evolution of lamellar microstructure during subsequent heating treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Electrospun Polylactic Acid Nanocomposite Fiber Mats with Hybrid Graphene Oxide and Nanohydroxyapatite Reinforcements Having Enhanced Biocompatibility
Polymers 2016, 8(8), 287; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8080287 - 08 Aug 2016
Cited by 30
Abstract
Graphene oxide (GO) and a nanohydroxyapatite rod (nHA) of good biocompatibility were incorporated into polylactic acid (PLA) through electrospinning to form nanocomposite fiber scaffolds for bone tissue engineering applications. The preparation, morphological, mechanical and thermal properties, as well as biocompatibility of electrospun PLA [...] Read more.
Graphene oxide (GO) and a nanohydroxyapatite rod (nHA) of good biocompatibility were incorporated into polylactic acid (PLA) through electrospinning to form nanocomposite fiber scaffolds for bone tissue engineering applications. The preparation, morphological, mechanical and thermal properties, as well as biocompatibility of electrospun PLA scaffolds reinforced with GO and/or nHA were investigated. Electron microscopic examination and image analysis showed that GO and nHA nanofillers refine the diameter of electrospun PLA fibers. Differential scanning calorimetric tests showed that nHA facilitates the crystallization process of PLA, thereby acting as a nucleating site for the PLA molecules. Tensile test results indicated that the tensile strength and elastic modulus of the electrospun PLA mat can be increased by adding 15 wt % nHA. The hybrid nanocomposite scaffold with 15 wt % nHA and 1 wt % GO fillers exhibited higher tensile strength amongst the specimens investigated. Furthermore, nHA and GO nanofillers enhanced the water uptake of PLA. Cell cultivation, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and alkaline phosphatase tests demonstrated that all of the nanocomposite scaffolds exhibit higher biocompatibility than the pure PLA mat, particularly for the scaffold with 15 wt % nHA and 1 wt % GO. Therefore, the novel electrospun PLA nanocomposite scaffold with 15 wt % nHA and 1 wt % GO possessing a high tensile strength and modulus, as well as excellent cell proliferation is a potential biomaterial for bone tissue engineering applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
3D Culture of Chondrocytes in Gelatin Hydrogels with Different Stiffness
Polymers 2016, 8(8), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8080269 - 26 Jul 2016
Cited by 32
Abstract
Gelatin hydrogels can mimic the microenvironments of natural tissues and encapsulate cells homogeneously, which makes them attractive for cartilage tissue engineering. Both the mechanical and biochemical properties of hydrogels can affect the phenotype of chondrocytes. However, the influence of each property on chondrocyte [...] Read more.
Gelatin hydrogels can mimic the microenvironments of natural tissues and encapsulate cells homogeneously, which makes them attractive for cartilage tissue engineering. Both the mechanical and biochemical properties of hydrogels can affect the phenotype of chondrocytes. However, the influence of each property on chondrocyte phenotype is unclear due to the difficulty in separating the roles of these properties. In this study, we aimed to study the influence of hydrogel stiffness on chondrocyte phenotype while excluding the role of biochemical factors, such as adhesion site density in the hydrogels. By altering the degree of methacryloyl functionalization, gelatin hydrogels with different stiffnesses of 3.8, 17.1, and 29.9 kPa Young’s modulus were prepared from the same concentration of gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) macromers. Bovine articular chondrocytes were encapsulated in the hydrogels and cultured for 14 days. The influence of hydrogel stiffness on the cell behaviors including cell viability, cell morphology, and maintenance of chondrogenic phenotype was evaluated. GelMA hydrogels with high stiffness (29.9 kPa) showed the best results on maintaining chondrogenic phenotype. These results will be useful for the design and preparation of scaffolds for cartilage tissue engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Thermo-Responsive Polyurethane Hydrogels Based on Poly(ε-caprolactone) Diol and Amphiphilic Polylactide-Poly(Ethylene Glycol) Block Copolymers
Polymers 2016, 8(7), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8070252 - 05 Jul 2016
Cited by 12
Abstract
Waterborne polyurethane (PU) based on poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) diol and an amphiphilic polylactide-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLA-PEG) diblock copolymer was synthesized. The molar ratio of PCL/PLA-PEG was 9:1 with different PLA chain lengths. The PU nanoparticles were characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS), small angle X-ray [...] Read more.
Waterborne polyurethane (PU) based on poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) diol and an amphiphilic polylactide-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLA-PEG) diblock copolymer was synthesized. The molar ratio of PCL/PLA-PEG was 9:1 with different PLA chain lengths. The PU nanoparticles were characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS), small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and rheological analysis. The water contact angle measurement, infrared spectroscopy, wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS), thermal and mechanical analyses were conducted on PU films. Significant changes in physio-chemical properties were observed for PUs containing 10 mol % of amphiphilic blocks. The water contact angle was reduced to 12°–13°, and the degree of crystallinity was 5%–10%. The PU dispersions underwent sol-gel transition upon the temperature rise to 37 °C. The gelation time increased as the PLA chain length increased. In addition, the fractal dimension of each gel was close to that of a percolation cluster. Moreover, PU4 with a solid content of 26% could support the proliferation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Therefore, thermo-responsive hydrogels with tunable properties are promising injectable materials for cell or drug delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Lyophilized EmuGel Silica Microspheres on the Physicomechanical Properties, In Vitro Bioactivity and Biodegradation of a Novel Ciprofloxacin-Loaded PCL/PAA Scaffold
Polymers 2016, 8(6), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8060232 - 15 Jun 2016
Cited by 8
Abstract
A new composite poly(caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) (PCL:PAA 1:5) scaffold was synthesized via dispersion of PCL particles into a PAA network. Silica microspheres (Si) (2–12 μm) were then prepared by a lyophilized micro-emulsion/sol-gel (Emugel) system using varying weight ratios. The model [...] Read more.
A new composite poly(caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) (PCL:PAA 1:5) scaffold was synthesized via dispersion of PCL particles into a PAA network. Silica microspheres (Si) (2–12 μm) were then prepared by a lyophilized micro-emulsion/sol-gel (Emugel) system using varying weight ratios. The model drug ciprofloxacin (CFX) was used for in situ incorporation into the scaffold. The physicochemical and thermal integrity, morphology and porosity of the system was analyzed by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Attenuated Total Refelctance Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), SEM, surface area analysis and liquid displacement, respectively. The mechanical properties of the scaffold were measured by textural analysis and in vitro bioactivity, biodegradation and pH variations were evaluated by XRD, FTIR and SEM after immersion in Simulated Body Fluid (SBF). The in vitro and in vivo studies of the prepared scaffold were considered as future aspects for this study. CFX release was determined in phosphate buffer saline (PBS) (pH 7.4; 37 °C). The incorporation of the Si microspheres and CFX into the scaffold was confirmed by XRD, FTIR, DSC and SEM, and the scaffold microstructure was dependent on the concentration of Si microspheres and the presence of CFX. The system displayed enhanced mechanical properties (4.5–14.73 MPa), in vitro bioactivity, biodegradation and controlled CFX release. Therefore, the PCL/PAA scaffolds loaded with Si microspheres and CFX with a porosity of up to 87% may be promising for bone tissue engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Biodegradable Polyphosphazene Based Peptide-Polymer Hybrids
Polymers 2016, 8(4), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8040161 - 22 Apr 2016
Cited by 16
Abstract
A novel series of peptide based hybrid polymers designed to undergo enzymatic degradation is presented, via macrosubstitution of a polyphosphazene backbone with the tetrapeptide Gly-Phe-Leu-Gly. Further co-substitution of the hybrid polymers with hydrophilic polyalkylene oxide Jeffamine M-1000 leads to water soluble and biodegradable [...] Read more.
A novel series of peptide based hybrid polymers designed to undergo enzymatic degradation is presented, via macrosubstitution of a polyphosphazene backbone with the tetrapeptide Gly-Phe-Leu-Gly. Further co-substitution of the hybrid polymers with hydrophilic polyalkylene oxide Jeffamine M-1000 leads to water soluble and biodegradable hybrid polymers. Detailed degradation studies, via 31P NMR spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering and field flow fractionation show the polymers degrade via a combination of enzymatic, as well as hydrolytic pathways. The peptide sequence was chosen due to its known property to undergo lysosomal degradation; hence, these degradable, water soluble polymers could be of significant interest for the use as polymer therapeutics. In this context, we investigated conjugation of the immune response modifier imiquimod to the polymers via the tetrapeptide and report the self-assembly behavior of the conjugate, as well as its enzymatically triggered drug release behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Poly-Lactide/Exfoliated C30B Interactions and Influence on Thermo-Mechanical Properties Due to Artificial Weathering
Polymers 2016, 8(4), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8040154 - 20 Apr 2016
Cited by 5
Abstract
Thermal stability as well as enhanced mechanical properties of poly-lactide (PLA) can increase PLA applications for short-use products. The conjunction of adequate molecular weight (MW) as well as satisfactory thermo-mechanical properties, together, can lead to the achievement of suitable properties. [...] Read more.
Thermal stability as well as enhanced mechanical properties of poly-lactide (PLA) can increase PLA applications for short-use products. The conjunction of adequate molecular weight (MW) as well as satisfactory thermo-mechanical properties, together, can lead to the achievement of suitable properties. However, PLA is susceptible to thermal degradation and thus an undesired decay of MW and a decrease of its mechanical properties during processing. To avoid this PLA degradation, nanofiller is incorporated as reinforcement to increase its thermo-mechanical properties. There are many papers focusing on filler effects on the thermal stability and mechanical properties of PLA/nanocomposites; however, these investigations lack an explanation of polymer/filler interactions. We propose interactions between PLA and Cloisite30B (C30B) as nanofiller. We also study the effects on the thermal and mechanical properties due to molecular weight decay after exposure to artificial weathering. PLA blank and nanocomposites were subjected to three time treatments (0, 176, and 360 h) of exposure to artificial weathering in order to achieve comparable materials with different MW. MW was acquired by means of Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC). Thermo-mechanical properties were investigated through Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analysis (DMTA) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Physical and Mechanical Evaluation of Five Suture Materials on Three Knot Configurations: An in Vitro Study
Polymers 2016, 8(4), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8040147 - 20 Apr 2016
Cited by 7
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare the mechanical properties of five suture materials on three knot configurations when subjected to different physical conditions. Five 5-0 (silk, polyamide 6/66, polyglycolic acid, glycolide-e-caprolactone copolymer, polytetrafluoroethylene) suture materials were used. Ten samples [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare the mechanical properties of five suture materials on three knot configurations when subjected to different physical conditions. Five 5-0 (silk, polyamide 6/66, polyglycolic acid, glycolide-e-caprolactone copolymer, polytetrafluoroethylene) suture materials were used. Ten samples per group of each material were used. Three knot configurations were compared A.2=1=1 (forward–forward–reverse), B.2=1=1 (forward–reverse–forward), C.1=2=1 (forward–forward–reverse). Mechanical properties (failure load, elongation, knot slippage/breakage) were measured using a universal testing machine. Samples were immersed in three different pH concentrations (4,7,9) at room temperature for 7 and 14 days. For the thermal cycle process, sutures were immersed in two water tanks at different temperatures (5 and 55 °C). Elongation and failure load were directly dependent on the suture material. Polyglycolic acid followed by glycolide-e-caprolactone copolymer showed the most knot failure load, while polytetrafluoroethylene showed the lowest (P < 0.001). Physical conditions had no effect on knot failure load (P = 0.494). Statistically significant differences were observed between knot configurations (P = 0.008). Additionally, individual assessment of suture material showed statistically significant results for combinations of particular knot configurations. Physical conditions, such as pH concentration and thermal cycle process, have no influence on suture mechanical properties. However, knot failure load depends on the suture material and knot configuration used. Consequently, specific suturing protocols might be recommended to obtain higher results of knot security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Chitinous Materials in Production and Purification of a Poly(l-lactic acid) Depolymerase from Pseudomonas tamsuii TKU015
Polymers 2016, 8(3), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8030098 - 22 Mar 2016
Cited by 7
Abstract
The management of fishery residues and plastics is considered to be a vital strategy for conserving resources and maintaining the quality of the environment. Poly(l-lactic acid) (PLA) is a commercially promising, renewable, and biodegradable plastic. In this study, a PLA depolymerase [...] Read more.
The management of fishery residues and plastics is considered to be a vital strategy for conserving resources and maintaining the quality of the environment. Poly(l-lactic acid) (PLA) is a commercially promising, renewable, and biodegradable plastic. In this study, a PLA depolymerase was produced in a squid pen powder (SPP) and recycled plastic waste (PLA powder)-containing medium by Pseudomonas tamsuii TKU015, a bacterial strain isolated from Taiwanese soil. This PLA depolymerase had a molecular weight of 58 kDa and was purified to homogeneity from the supernatant of a TKU015 culture. The optimum pH of TKU015 PLA depolymerase is 10, and the optimal temperature of the enzyme is 60 °C. In addition to PLA, TKU015 PLA depolymerase degraded fibrinogen and tributyrin, but did not hydrolyze casein, triolein, and poly(β-hydroxybutyrate). Taken together, these data demonstrate that P. tamsuii TKU015 produces a PLA depolymerase to utilize SPP and polylactide as carbon/nitrogen sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Electrospinning Parameters on Fiber Diameter and Mechanical Properties of Poly(3-Hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) and Polyanilines (PANI) Blends
Polymers 2016, 8(3), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8030097 - 22 Mar 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
Random and oriented fibers of poly (3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) and their blends were manufactured using electrospinning using a co-solvent. The kind and the concentration of the co-solvent affected the diameter of electrospun fibers. The morphology, thermal analysis, and crystalline structure of electrospun fibers was [...] Read more.
Random and oriented fibers of poly (3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) and their blends were manufactured using electrospinning using a co-solvent. The kind and the concentration of the co-solvent affected the diameter of electrospun fibers. The morphology, thermal analysis, and crystalline structure of electrospun fibers was studied using polarized optical microscop (POM), Differential scanning colametry (DSC), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD), and FT-IR analysis. The diameter of the electrospun fibers decreases with increasing collector speed for the blends compared to pure PHB, which are about 6 µm in diameter. The fibers obtained from blends reduce to 2 µm. The aligned electrospun fiber mats obtained from pure PHB showed no signs of necking at different take-up speeds, but the blends show multiple necking. It was found by FT-IR that the peak intensity at 1379 cm−1 was lower by take up speed than in casting films; this peak is sensitive to crystallinity of PHB. The addition of polyanilines (PANIs) to (PHB) with a plasticizer decreases the diameter of the electrospun fiber. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessCommunication
Polylactide/Montmorillonite Hybrid Latex as a Barrier Coating for Paper Applications
Polymers 2016, 8(3), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8030075 - 04 Mar 2016
Cited by 6
Abstract
We developed a paper coating for the potential application in food packaging based on polylactide and montmorillonite. It is applied to the paper in the form of a stable, water-based latex with a solid content of 25–28 wt %. The latex is prepared [...] Read more.
We developed a paper coating for the potential application in food packaging based on polylactide and montmorillonite. It is applied to the paper in the form of a stable, water-based latex with a solid content of 25–28 wt %. The latex is prepared from a commercially available polylactide, surfactants, montmorillonite, a plasticizer, chloroform (to be removed later) and water by an emulsion/solvent evaporation procedure. This coating formulation is applied to the paper substrate by bar-coating, followed by hot-pressing at 150 °C. The coated papers achieved up to an 85% improvement in water vapor transmission rates when compared to the pristine papers. The coating latex is prepared from inexpensive materials and can be used for a solvent-free coating process. In addition, the ingredients of the latex are non-toxic; thus, the coated papers can be safely used for food packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Fabrication of Porous Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyhexanoate) Monoliths via Thermally Induced Phase Separation
Polymers 2016, 8(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8030066 - 29 Feb 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
This study deals with the fabrication of biodegradable porous materials from bacterial polyester, poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyhexanoate) (P3HB3HHx), via thermally induced phase separation. P3HB3HHx monoliths with topological porous structure were prepared by dissolution of P3HB3HHx in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) at [...] Read more.
This study deals with the fabrication of biodegradable porous materials from bacterial polyester, poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyhexanoate) (P3HB3HHx), via thermally induced phase separation. P3HB3HHx monoliths with topological porous structure were prepared by dissolution of P3HB3HHx in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) at 85 °C and subsequent quenching. The microstructure of the resulting P3HB3HHx monoliths was changed by the P3HB3HHx concentration of the polymer solution. Differential scanning calorimetry and polarized optical microscope analysis revealed that the P3HB3HHx monoliths crystallized during phase separation and the subsequent aging. The mechanical properties, such as compression modulus and stress, of the monoliths depended on the 3-hydroxyhexanoate content of P3HB3HHx. Furthermore, the P3HB3HHx monolith absorbed linseed oil in preference to water in a plant oil–water mixture. In combination with the biodegradable character of P3HB3HHx, the present study is expected to contribute to the development of bio-based materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessReview
Modification and Potential Application of Short-Chain-Length Polyhydroxyalkanoate (SCL-PHA)
Polymers 2016, 8(8), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8080273 - 28 Jul 2016
Cited by 24
Abstract
As the only kind of naturally-occurring biopolyester synthesized by various microorganisms, polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) shows a great market potential in packaging, fiber, biomedical, and other fields due to its biodegradablity, biocompatibility, and renewability. However, the inherent defects of scl-PHA with low 3HV or 4HB [...] Read more.
As the only kind of naturally-occurring biopolyester synthesized by various microorganisms, polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) shows a great market potential in packaging, fiber, biomedical, and other fields due to its biodegradablity, biocompatibility, and renewability. However, the inherent defects of scl-PHA with low 3HV or 4HB content, such as high stereoregularity, slow crystallization rate, and particularly the phenomena of formation of large-size spherulites and secondary crystallization, restrict the processing and stability of scl-PHA, as well as the application of its products. Many efforts have focused on the modification of scl-PHA to improve the mechanical properties and the applicability of obtained scl-PHA products. The modification of structure and property together with the potential applications of scl-PHA are covered in this review to give a comprehensive knowledge on the modification and processing of scl-PHA, including the effects of physical blending, chemical structure design, and processing conditions on the crystallization behaviors, thermal stability, and mechanical properties of scl-PHA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Bio-Based Polymers with Potential for Biodegradability
Polymers 2016, 8(7), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym8070262 - 14 Jul 2016
Cited by 46
Abstract
A variety of renewable starting materials, such as sugars and polysaccharides, vegetable oils, lignin, pine resin derivatives, and proteins, have so far been investigated for the preparation of bio-based polymers. Among the various sources of bio-based feedstock, vegetable oils are one of the [...] Read more.
A variety of renewable starting materials, such as sugars and polysaccharides, vegetable oils, lignin, pine resin derivatives, and proteins, have so far been investigated for the preparation of bio-based polymers. Among the various sources of bio-based feedstock, vegetable oils are one of the most widely used starting materials in the polymer industry due to their easy availability, low toxicity, and relative low cost. Another bio-based plastic of great interest is poly(lactic acid) (PLA), widely used in multiple commercial applications nowadays. There is an intrinsic expectation that bio-based polymers are also biodegradable, but in reality there is no guarantee that polymers prepared from biorenewable feedstock exhibit significant or relevant biodegradability. Biodegradability studies are therefore crucial in order to assess the long-term environmental impact of such materials. This review presents a brief overview of the different classes of bio-based polymers, with a strong focus on vegetable oil-derived resins and PLA. An entire section is dedicated to a discussion of the literature addressing the biodegradability of bio-based polymers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymers)
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