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Novel Polymer Synthesis using Enzymatic Catalysis in Nonaqueous Media

  • Jonathan S. Dordick (a1), Damodar. R. Patil, Keungarp Ryu and David G. Rethwisch

Abstract

The use of enzymes in organic solvents has enabled two distinct polymer syntheses to be performed. The first is the enzyme-catalyzed polycondensation of sucrose with an adipic acid derivative in pyridine. Taking advantage of the extremely high regioselectivity of proleather, an alkaline protease, sucrose has been polymerized with 6 and 1' ester linkages. The result is a highly water-soluble product with sucrose an integral part of the polymer backbone. The polyester is degraded by the proleather in aqueous solution, thereby suggesting that the polymer is biodegradable. The second polymer synthesis is the free-radical polymerization of phenols using horseradish peroxidase in dioxane-water mixtures. Molecular weights in excess of 25,000 have been produced. The scope of polymerization can be predicted based on enzyme kinetics in organic media and using a Monte Carlo simulation. Astonishingly accurate simulations have been run that suggest that the high degree of control afforded by enzymatic catalysis over conventional chemical catalysts can be usedpredictively in polymer synthesis. This is of great importance in process control of polymer syntheses.

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Novel Polymer Synthesis using Enzymatic Catalysis in Nonaqueous Media

  • Jonathan S. Dordick (a1), Damodar. R. Patil, Keungarp Ryu and David G. Rethwisch

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