Formation of Robust and Adaptive Biopolymers via Non-Covalent Supramolecular Interactions

Macromol Rapid Commun. 2023 Jan;44(2):e2200579. doi: 10.1002/marc.202200579. Epub 2022 Oct 3.

Abstract

Biomass-originated materials are the future's next-tier polymers. This work suggests improving mechanical and barrier properties of nature-sourced polymers using non-covalent supramolecular interactions. Polysaccharide chitosan is modified with amino acids via an esterification pathway using a systematic variation of hydrogen bond and aromatic domains (Degrees of substitution 12-49%). These controlled modifications improve stability due to non-covalent interactions, resulting in biopolymers with tailored thermal (decomposition temperature 232-275 °C), mechanical (Young's modulus 540-2667 MPa), and surface properties (roughness 4-40 nm). Chitosan and natural amino acids that are already manufactured at scale are purposely selected. The facile synthesis, controlled properties, stimuli-responsive potential, and inexhaustible origin of the raw materials provide the presented findings with the potential to become the method for the formation of high-performance biodegradable alternatives to petroleum-based polymers that can be used in packaging, food, agriculture, and medicine.

Keywords: biopolymers; hydrogen bonds; non-covalent interactions; polysaccharide; supramolecular chemistry.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids
  • Biopolymers / chemistry
  • Chitosan* / chemistry
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Temperature

Substances

  • Chitosan
  • Biopolymers
  • Polymers
  • Amino Acids