Water-Soluble and Insoluble Polymers and Biopolymers for Biomedical, Environmental, and Biological Applications

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Circular and Green Polymer Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 March 2022) | Viewed by 35695

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518055, China
Interests: nanomaterials science; polymer science; soft matter science; 2D materials; environmental chemistry
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Department of Materials Science and Engineering at University Carlos III of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Interests: hydrogels; smart polymers; LCST; polyolefins
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The use of polymers in biological applications is defined by the interactions promoted between living organisms and polymeric chains, which are, in general, associated with the polymers’ hydrophilic and hydrophobic behaviors. However, these water-friendly structures are also very useful for other applications, such as the adsorption of pollutants from sewage water. The modulation of the final properties of water-soluble and insoluble polymers tends to define the spectra of features associated with their final applications.

This issue is seeking research papers and reviews focusing on:

- Polymeric structures or derivatives related to biological applications.

- Polymers associated with water treatment.

- The hydrophobic or/and hydrophilic behaviors of materials based on polymers.

- The properties of water-soluble and insoluble polymers.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you think that your manuscript suits this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Florian J. Stadler
Dr. Alberto García-Peñas
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2700 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

  • lower and upper critical solution temperature
  • pollutant adsorption
  • biomedical application
  • water treatment
  • soft matter
  • polymer physics
  • polymer chemistry
  • supramolecular materials

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 205 KiB  
Editorial
Water-Soluble and -Insoluble Polymers and Biopolymers for Biomedical, Environmental, and Biological Applications
by Florian J. Stadler and Alberto García-Peñas
Polymers 2022, 14(12), 2386; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14122386 - 13 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1482
Abstract
In this Special Issue, several papers dedicated to biomedical, environmental, and biological applications have been assembled, representing different aspects of the field [...] Full article

Research

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14 pages, 5475 KiB  
Article
Synthesis and Characterization of Biodegradable Poly(butyl cyanoacrylate) for Drug Delivery Applications
by Benjamin-Luca Keller, Claudia A. Lohmann, Samuel O. Kyeremateng and Gert Fricker
Polymers 2022, 14(5), 998; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14050998 - 28 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4107
Abstract
Poly(butyl cyanoacrylate) (PBCA) is a biodegradable and biocompatible homopolymer which is used as a carrier matrix for drug delivery systems in the pharmaceutical industry. Typically, polymerization is carried out under aqueous conditions and results in molecular weights are mostly lower than 3000 g/mol [...] Read more.
Poly(butyl cyanoacrylate) (PBCA) is a biodegradable and biocompatible homopolymer which is used as a carrier matrix for drug delivery systems in the pharmaceutical industry. Typically, polymerization is carried out under aqueous conditions and results in molecular weights are mostly lower than 3000 g/mol due to the instability of the high molecular weight PBCA. However, the stability of polymer excipients is a major prerequisite for drug product development in the pharmaceutical industry. In this work, a reliable polymer synthesis strategy for PBCA was designed to control the molecular weight in a nonaqueous polymerization environment. The anionic polymerization process and the impact of key synthesis parameters were investigated. The results confirmed that the previously postulated depolymerization–repolymerization process (DPRP) in the literature can be used to tailor the molecular weight of PBCA. The amount of sodium methoxide present during the polymerization proved to be the key parameter to control the DPRP and the molecular weight as desired. In addition, it was discovered that end-capping the PBCA chain suppressed the DPRP and prevented monomer release by depriving the PBCA of its living character. Thus, neat PBCA polymer with varying molecular weights determined by Advanced Polymer Chromatography™ as well as end-capped PBCA were synthesized, and the improvement of the chemical and shelf-life stability were confirmed using NMR. Full article
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17 pages, 2856 KiB  
Article
Concentration Effect over Thermoresponse Derived from Organometallic Compounds of Functionalized Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-dopamine Methacrylamide)
by María Moral-Zamorano, Isabel Quijada-Garrido, Verónica San-Miguel, Berna Serrano, Juan Baselga, Saud Hashmi, Florian J. Stadler and Alberto García-Peñas
Polymers 2021, 13(22), 3921; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13223921 - 12 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2273
Abstract
The functionalization of smart polymers is opening a new perspective in catalysis, drug carriers and biosensors, due to the fact that they can modulate the response regarding conventional devices. This smart response could be affected by the presence of organometallic complexes in terms [...] Read more.
The functionalization of smart polymers is opening a new perspective in catalysis, drug carriers and biosensors, due to the fact that they can modulate the response regarding conventional devices. This smart response could be affected by the presence of organometallic complexes in terms of interactions which could affect the physical chemical properties. In this sense, the thermoresponsive behavior of copolymers based on N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) could be affected due to the presence of hydrophobic groups and concentration effect. In this work, the functionalization of a copolymer based on NIPAM and dopamine methacrylamide with different amounts of bis(cyclopentadienyl)titanium (IV) dichloride was carried out. The resulting materials were characterized, showing a clear idea about the mechanism of functionalization through FTIR spectroscopy. The thermoresponsive behavior was also studied for various polymeric solutions in water by UV–vis spectroscopy and calorimetry. The hydrophobic interactions promoted by the organometallic complex could affect the transition associated with the lower critical solution temperature (LCST), specifically, the segments composed by pure NIPAM. That fact would explain the reduction of the width of the LCST-transition, contrary to what could be expected. In addition, the hydrophobicity was tested by the contact angle and also DNA interactions. Full article
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9 pages, 676 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Toxicity and Biodegradability of Poly(vinyl alcohol)-Based Materials in Marine Water
by Olalla Alonso-López, Sara López-Ibáñez and Ricardo Beiras
Polymers 2021, 13(21), 3742; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213742 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 9676
Abstract
Due to the continuous rise in conventional plastic production and the deficient management of plastic waste, industry is developing alternative plastic products made of biodegradable or biobased polymers. The challenge nowadays is to create a new product that combines the advantages of conventional [...] Read more.
Due to the continuous rise in conventional plastic production and the deficient management of plastic waste, industry is developing alternative plastic products made of biodegradable or biobased polymers. The challenge nowadays is to create a new product that combines the advantages of conventional plastics with environmentally friendly properties. This study focuses on the assessment of the potential impact that polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)-based polymers may have once they are released into the marine environment, in terms of biodegradation in seawater (assessed by the percentage of the Theoretical Oxygen Demand, or % ThOD, of each compound) and aquatic toxicity, according to the standard toxicity test using Paracentrotus lividus larvae. We have tested three different materials: two glycerol-containing PVA based ones, and another made from pure PVA. Biodegradation of PVA under marine conditions without an acclimated inoculum seems to be negligible, and it slightly improves when the polymer is combined with glycerol, with a 5.3 and 8.4% ThOD achieved after a period of 28 days. Toxicity of pure PVA was also negligible (<1 toxic units, TU), but slightly increases when the material included glycerol (2.2 and 2.3 TU). These results may contribute to a better assessment of the behavior of PVA-based polymers in marine environments. Given the low biodegradation rates obtained for the tested compounds, PVA polymers still require further study in order to develop materials that are truly degradable in real marine scenarios. Full article
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17 pages, 6931 KiB  
Article
Effect of Microcapsules with Waterborne Coating as Core Material on Properties of Coating for Tilia Europaea and Comparison with Other Microcapsules
by Xiaoxing Yan, Yu Tao and Xingyu Qian
Polymers 2021, 13(18), 3167; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13183167 - 18 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1649
Abstract
Urea formaldehyde was used as wall material and waterborne coatings as a core material to prepare microcapsules. So as to explore the influence of mass ratio of core to shell, reaction temperature and standing time on the performance of microcapsules, the orthogonal test [...] Read more.
Urea formaldehyde was used as wall material and waterborne coatings as a core material to prepare microcapsules. So as to explore the influence of mass ratio of core to shell, reaction temperature and standing time on the performance of microcapsules, the orthogonal test of three factors and two levels was put into effect. The orthogonal experimental results showed the mass ratio of core to shell was the most important factor. With the increase of the mass ratio of core to shell, the output and clad ratio of microcapsules increased first and then decreased. The microcapsule with the mass ratio of core to shell of 0.67:1 had better appearance, output, and encapsulation performance. The optical properties of waterborne wood coating with the microcapsules of waterborne coating as core materials did not decrease significantly, while the hardness, impact resistance, and toughness were improved. At the same time, the microcapsules have a certain self-repairing effect on coating micro-cracks. Compared with the properties of waterborne coatings with other microcapsules, the coating with waterborne coating as core material has better comprehensive performance. The results provide a new research idea for the performance enhancement and self-healing of wood waterborne coating. Full article
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19 pages, 3695 KiB  
Article
Preparations of Poly(lactic acid) Dispersions in Water for Coating Applications
by Giada Belletti, Sara Buoso, Lucia Ricci, Alejandro Guillem-Ortiz, Alejandro Aragón-Gutiérrez, Olga Bortolini and Monica Bertoldo
Polymers 2021, 13(16), 2767; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13162767 - 18 Aug 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 9172
Abstract
A green, effective methodology for the preparation of water-based dispersions of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) for coating purposes is herein presented. The procedure consists of two steps: in the first one, an oil-in-water emulsion is obtained by mixing a solution of PLA in ethyl [...] Read more.
A green, effective methodology for the preparation of water-based dispersions of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) for coating purposes is herein presented. The procedure consists of two steps: in the first one, an oil-in-water emulsion is obtained by mixing a solution of PLA in ethyl acetate with a water phase containing surfactant and stabilizer. Different homogenization methods as well as oil/water phase ratio, surfactant and stabilizer combinations were screened. In the second step, the quantitative evaporation of the organic provides water dispersions of PLA that are stable, at least, over several weeks at room temperature or at 4 °C. Particle size was in the 200–500 nm range, depending on the preparation conditions, as confirmed by scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis. PLA was found not to suffer significant molecular weight degradation by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) analysis. Furthermore, two selected formulations with glass transition temperature (Tg) of 51 °C and 34 °C were tested for the preparation of PLA films by drying in PTFE capsules. In both cases, continuous films that are homogeneous by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and SEM observation were obtained only when drying was performed above 60 °C. The formulation with lower Tg results in films which are more flexible and transparent. Full article
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Review

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27 pages, 1755 KiB  
Review
Chitosan as a Tool for Sustainable Development: A Mini Review
by Soundouss Maliki, Gaurav Sharma, Amit Kumar, María Moral-Zamorano, Omid Moradi, Juan Baselga, Florian J. Stadler and Alberto García-Peñas
Polymers 2022, 14(7), 1475; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14071475 - 5 Apr 2022
Cited by 44 | Viewed by 4957
Abstract
New developments require innovative ecofriendly materials defined by their biocompatibility, biodegradability, and versatility. For that reason, the scientific society is focused on biopolymers such as chitosan, which is the second most abundant in the world after cellulose. These new materials should show good [...] Read more.
New developments require innovative ecofriendly materials defined by their biocompatibility, biodegradability, and versatility. For that reason, the scientific society is focused on biopolymers such as chitosan, which is the second most abundant in the world after cellulose. These new materials should show good properties in terms of sustainability, circularity, and energy consumption during industrial applications. The idea is to replace traditional raw materials with new ecofriendly materials which contribute to keeping a high production rate but also reducing its environmental impact and the costs. The chitosan shows interesting and unique properties, thus it can be used for different purposes which contributes to the design and development of sustainable novel materials. This helps in promoting sustainability through the use of chitosan and diverse materials based on it. For example, it is a good sustainable alternative for food packaging or it can be used for sustainable agriculture. The chitosan can also reduce the pollution of other industrial processes such as paper production. This mini review collects some of the most important advances for the sustainable use of chitosan for promoting circular economy. Hence, the present review focuses on different aspects of chitosan from its synthesis to multiple applications. Full article
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