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Special Issue "Bio-inspired and Bio-based Polymers"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Helmut Schlaad

University of Potsdam, Institute of Chemistry, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: living/controlled polymerization; bio-based monomers and polymers; polymer modification, "thio-click" chemistry; polymer colloids and films; composite materials; bioinspired structure formation; hierarchical structures; polymer complexes; stimuli-responsive

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nature has developed many sophisticated systems, materials and concepts/mechanisms, the transfer of which, to technical applications, would be highly desirable. However, for feasibility and economic reasons, biological systems cannot often be applied directly, but serve as an inspiration for a technological solution.
This Special Issue is intended to highlight the production of bio-inspired or bio-based (“green”) polymers and any kind of bioinspired use or application, for instance as structural and functional materials, stimuli-responsive/“smart” materials, colloids or particles, hierarchical structures, composite materials, and so on.

Prof. Dr. Helmut Schlaad
Guest 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 special issue 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. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1400 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

•    bio-based
•    bio-inspired
•    polymers
•    stimuli-responsive
•    supramolecular structures
•    functional materials
•    composite materials

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Surface Patterning of Gold Nanoparticles on PEG-Based Hydrogels to Control Cell Adhesion
Polymers 2017, 9(5), 154; doi:10.3390/polym9050154
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 18 April 2017 / Accepted: 21 April 2017 / Published: 26 April 2017
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Abstract
We report on a versatile and easy approach to micro-pattern gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) on 8-arm poly(ethylene glycol)-vinyl sulfone thiol (8PEG-VS-SH) hydrogels, and the application of these patterned Au NPs stripes in controlling cell adhesion. Firstly, the Au NPs were patterned on silicon
[...] Read more.
We report on a versatile and easy approach to micro-pattern gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) on 8-arm poly(ethylene glycol)-vinyl sulfone thiol (8PEG-VS-SH) hydrogels, and the application of these patterned Au NPs stripes in controlling cell adhesion. Firstly, the Au NPs were patterned on silicon wafers, and then they were transferred onto reactive, multifunctional 8PEG-VS-SH hydrogels. The patterned, micrometer-sized Au NPs stripes with variable spacings ranging from 20 μm to 50 μm were created by our recently developed micro-contact deprinting method. For this micro-contact deprinting approach, four different PEG-based stamp materials have been tested and it was found that the triblock copolymer PEG-PPG-PEG-(3BC) stamp established the best transfer efficiency and has been used in the ongoing work. After the successful creation of micro-patterns of Au NPs stripes on silicon, the patterns can be transferred conveniently and accurately to 8PEG-VS-SH hydrogel films. Subsequently these Au NPs patterns on 8PEG-VS-SH hydrogels have been investigated in cell culture with murine fibroblasts (L-929). The cells have been observed to adhere to and spread on those nano-patterned micro-lines in a remarkably selective and ordered manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-inspired and Bio-based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Homoserine Lactone as a Structural Key Element for the Synthesis of Multifunctional Polymers
Polymers 2017, 9(4), 130; doi:10.3390/polym9040130
Received: 16 March 2017 / Revised: 28 March 2017 / Accepted: 31 March 2017 / Published: 5 April 2017
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Abstract
The use of bio-based building blocks for polymer synthesis represents a milestone on the way to “green” materials. In this work, two synthetic strategies for the preparation of multifunctional polymers are presented in which the key element is the functionality of homoserine lactone.
[...] Read more.
The use of bio-based building blocks for polymer synthesis represents a milestone on the way to “green” materials. In this work, two synthetic strategies for the preparation of multifunctional polymers are presented in which the key element is the functionality of homoserine lactone. First, the synthesis of a bis cyclic coupler based on a thiolactone and homoserine lactone is displayed. This coupler was evaluated regarding its regioselectivity upon reaction with amines and used in the preparation of multifunctional polymeric building blocks by reaction with diamines. Furthermore, a linear polyglycidol was functionalized with homoserine lactone. The resulting polyethers with lactone groups in the side chain were converted to cationic polymers by reaction with 3-(dimethylamino)-1-propylamine followed by quaternization with methyl iodide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-inspired and Bio-based Polymers)
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Figure 1

Open AccessArticle DNA Compaction and Charge Inversion Induced by Organic Monovalent Ions
Polymers 2017, 9(4), 128; doi:10.3390/polym9040128
Received: 14 January 2017 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 23 March 2017 / Published: 30 March 2017
PDF Full-text (2607 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
DNA condensation and charge inversion usually occur in solutions of multivalent counterions. In the present study, we show that the organic monovalent ions of tetraphenyl chloride arsenic (Ph4As+) can induce DNA compaction and even invert its electrophoretic mobility by
[...] Read more.
DNA condensation and charge inversion usually occur in solutions of multivalent counterions. In the present study, we show that the organic monovalent ions of tetraphenyl chloride arsenic (Ph4As+) can induce DNA compaction and even invert its electrophoretic mobility by single molecular methods. The morphology of condensed DNA was directly observed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) in the presence of a low concentration of Ph4As+ in DNA solution. The magnetic tweezers (MT) measurements showed that DNA compaction happens at very low Ph4As+ concentration (≤1 μM), and the typical step-like structures could be found in the extension-time curves of tethering DNA. However, when the concentration of Ph4As+ increased to 1 mM, the steps disappeared in the pulling curves and globular structures could be found in the corresponding AFM images. Electrophoretic mobility measurement showed that charge inversion of DNA induced by the monovalent ions happened at 1.6 mM Ph4As+, which is consistent with the prediction based on the strong hydrophobicity of Ph4As+. We infer that the hydrophobic effect is the main driving force of DNA charge inversion and compaction by the organic monovalent ion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-inspired and Bio-based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle A Novel Biomimetic Approach to Repair Enamel Cracks/Carious Damages and to Reseal Dentinal Tubules by Amorphous Polyphosphate
Polymers 2017, 9(4), 120; doi:10.3390/polym9040120
Received: 3 February 2017 / Revised: 23 March 2017 / Accepted: 23 March 2017 / Published: 25 March 2017
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Abstract
Based on natural principles, we developed a novel toothpaste, containing morphogenetically active amorphous calcium polyphosphate (polyP) microparticles which are enriched with retinyl acetate (“a-polyP/RA-MP”). The spherical microparticles (average size, 550 ± 120 nm), prepared by co-precipitating soluble Na-polyP with calcium chloride and supplemented
[...] Read more.
Based on natural principles, we developed a novel toothpaste, containing morphogenetically active amorphous calcium polyphosphate (polyP) microparticles which are enriched with retinyl acetate (“a-polyP/RA-MP”). The spherical microparticles (average size, 550 ± 120 nm), prepared by co-precipitating soluble Na-polyP with calcium chloride and supplemented with retinyl acetate, were incorporated into a base toothpaste at a final concentration of 1% or 10%. The “a-polyP/RA-MP” ingredient significantly enhanced the stimulatory effect of the toothpaste on the growth of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). This increase was paralleled by an upregulation of the MSC marker genes for osteoblast differentiation, collagen type I and alkaline phosphatase. In addition, polyP, applied as Zn-polyP microparticles (“Zn-a-polyP-MP”), showed a distinct inhibitory effect on growth of Streptococcus mutans, in contrast to a toothpaste containing the broad-spectrum antibiotic triclosan that only marginally inhibits this cariogenic bacterium. Moreover, we demonstrate that the “a-polyP/RA-MP”-containing toothpaste efficiently repairs cracks/fissures in the enamel and dental regions and reseals dentinal tubules, already after a five-day treatment (brushing) of teeth as examined by SEM (scanning electron microscopy) and semi-quantitative EDX (energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy). The occlusion of the dentin cracks by the microparticles turned out to be stable and resistant against short-time high power sonication. Our results demonstrate that the novel toothpaste prepared here, containing amorphous polyP microparticles enriched with retinyl acetate, is particularly suitable for prevention/repair of (cariogenic) damages of tooth enamel/dentin and for treatment of dental hypersensitivity. While the polyP microparticles function as a sealant for dentinal damages and inducer of remineralization processes, the retinyl acetate acts as a regenerative stimulus for collagen gene expression in cells of the surrounding tissue, the periodontium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-inspired and Bio-based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Preparation and Application of Starch/Polyvinyl Alcohol/Citric Acid Ternary Blend Antimicrobial Functional Food Packaging Films
Polymers 2017, 9(3), 102; doi:10.3390/polym9030102
Received: 9 February 2017 / Revised: 6 March 2017 / Accepted: 10 March 2017 / Published: 14 March 2017
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Abstract
Ternary blend films were prepared with different ratios of starch/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)/citric acid. The films were characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), thermogravimetric analysis, as well as Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis. The influence of different ratios of starch/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)/citric
[...] Read more.
Ternary blend films were prepared with different ratios of starch/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)/citric acid. The films were characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), thermogravimetric analysis, as well as Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis. The influence of different ratios of starch/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)/citric acid and different drying times on the performance properties, transparency, tensile strength (TS), water vapor permeability (WVP), water solubility (WS), color difference (ΔE), and antimicrobial activity of the ternary blends films were investigated. The starch/polyvinyl alcohol/citric acid (S/P/C1:1:0, S/P/C3:1:0.08, and S/P/C3:3:0.08) films were all highly transparent. The S/P/C3:3:0.08 had a 54.31 times water-holding capacity of its own weight and its mechanical tensile strength was 46.45 MPa. In addition, its surface had good uniformity and compactness. The S/P/C3:1:0.08 and S/P/C3:3:0.08 showed strong antimicrobial activity to Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli, which were the food-borne pathogenic bacteria used. The freshness test results of fresh figs showed that all of the blends prevented the formation of condensed water on the surface of the film, and the S/P/C3:1:0.08 and S/P/C3:3:0.08 prevented the deterioration of figs during storage. The films can be used as an active food packaging system due to their strong antibacterial effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-inspired and Bio-based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Bio-Inspired Polymer Membrane Surface Cleaning
Polymers 2017, 9(3), 97; doi:10.3390/polym9030097
Received: 22 February 2017 / Revised: 2 March 2017 / Accepted: 5 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
To generate polyethersulfone membranes with a biocatalytically active surface, pancreatin was covalently immobilized. Pancreatin is a mixture of digestive enzymes such as protease, lipase, and amylase. The resulting membranes exhibit self-cleaning properties after “switching on” the respective enzyme by adjusting pH and temperature.
[...] Read more.
To generate polyethersulfone membranes with a biocatalytically active surface, pancreatin was covalently immobilized. Pancreatin is a mixture of digestive enzymes such as protease, lipase, and amylase. The resulting membranes exhibit self-cleaning properties after “switching on” the respective enzyme by adjusting pH and temperature. Thus, the membrane surface can actively degrade a fouling layer on its surface and regain initial permeability. Fouling tests with solutions of protein, oil, and mixtures of both, were performed, and the membrane’s ability to self-clean the fouled surface was characterized. Membrane characterization was conducted by investigation of the immobilized enzyme concentration, enzyme activity, water permeation flux, fouling tests, porosimetry, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-inspired and Bio-based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Improvement of Interfacial Adhesion by Bio-Inspired Catechol-Functionalized Soy Protein with Versatile Reactivity: Preparation of Fully Utilizable Soy-Based Film
Polymers 2017, 9(3), 95; doi:10.3390/polym9030095
Received: 8 February 2017 / Accepted: 2 March 2017 / Published: 7 March 2017
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Abstract
The development of materials based on renewable resources with enhanced mechanical and physicochemical properties is hampered by the abundance of hydrophilic groups because of their structural instability. Bio-inspired from the strong adhesion ability of mussel proteins, renewable and robust soy-based composite films were
[...] Read more.
The development of materials based on renewable resources with enhanced mechanical and physicochemical properties is hampered by the abundance of hydrophilic groups because of their structural instability. Bio-inspired from the strong adhesion ability of mussel proteins, renewable and robust soy-based composite films were fabricated from two soybean-derived industrial materials: soluble soybean polysaccharide (SSPS) and catechol-functionalized soy protein isolate (SPI-CH). The conjugation of SPI with multiple catechol moieties as a versatile adhesive component for SSPS matrix efficiently improved the interfacial adhesion between each segment of biopolymer. The biomimetic adherent catechol moieties were successfully bonded in the polymeric network based on catechol crosslinking chemistry through simple oxidative coupling and/or coordinative interaction. A combination of H-bonding, strong adhesion between the SPI-CH conjugation and SSPS matrix resulted in remarkable enhancements for mechanical properties. It was found that the tensile strength and Young’s modulus was improved from 2.80 and 17.24 MPa of unmodified SP film to 4.04 and 97.22 MPa of modified one, respectively. More importantly, the resultant films exhibited favorable water resistance and gas (water vapor) barrier performances. The results suggested that the promising way improved the phase adhesion of graft copolymers using catechol-functionalized polymers as versatile adhesive components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-inspired and Bio-based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis and Characterization of Methyl Cellulose/Keratin Hydrolysate Composite Membranes
Polymers 2017, 9(3), 91; doi:10.3390/polym9030091
Received: 25 January 2017 / Revised: 24 February 2017 / Accepted: 1 March 2017 / Published: 4 March 2017
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Abstract
It is known that aqueous keratin hydrolysate solutions can be produced from feathers using superheated water as solvent. This method is optimized in this study by varying the time and temperature of the heat treatment in order to obtain a high solute content
[...] Read more.
It is known that aqueous keratin hydrolysate solutions can be produced from feathers using superheated water as solvent. This method is optimized in this study by varying the time and temperature of the heat treatment in order to obtain a high solute content in the solution. With the dissolved polypeptides, films are produced using methyl cellulose as supporting material. Thereby, novel composite membranes are produced from bio-waste. It is expected that these materials exhibit both protein and polysaccharide properties. The influence of the embedded keratin hydrolysates on the methyl cellulose structure is investigated using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD). Adsorption peaks of both components are present in the spectra of the membranes, while the X-ray analysis shows that the polypeptides are incorporated into the semi-crystalline methyl cellulose structure. This behavior significantly influences the mechanical properties of the composite films as is shown by tensile tests. Since further processing steps, e.g., crosslinking, may involve a heat treatment, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) is applied to obtain information on the thermal stability of the composite materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-inspired and Bio-based Polymers)
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