Topical Collection "Advances in Biodegradable Polymers"

Editor

Prof. Dr. Dimitrios Bikiaris
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry and Technology, Department of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece
Interests: synthesis and characterization of polyesters; development of biobased polymers; biodegradable polymers; polymer composites and nanocomposites; synthesis and characterization of copolymers; polymer blends; recycling of polymers with various techniques; modification of natural polymers; polymer for wastewater treatment pollutant removal; polymers for tissue engineering and drug delivery applications; drug–polymer solid dispersions; drug targeting; drug nanoencapsulation and microencapsulation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Biodegradable polymers are polymers that can be subjected to significant changes in their chemical structure under certain environmental conditions in a relatively short time via natural biological processes, like the action of micro-organisms (mainly bacteria and fungi) resulting in a progressive reduction of their molecular weight and alteration of their physical properties. The mechanisms of biodegradable polymers include enzymatic degradation, hydrolysis and the combination of them, and is a surface or bulk erosion procedure. Enzymes are acting as biocatalysts. The process of biodegradation can be divided into three stages: biodeterioration, biofragmentation, and assimilation, leading to harmless and simple products (mainly CO2 and H2O after completely biodegradation), thus reducing the need to create a disposal system that causes harm to thr environment. The biodegradation rate depends either on external factors like temperature, oxygen, water and light or on internal ones, such as the chemical structure of polymers, their molecular weight, degree of crystallinity and hydrophilicity.

Biodegradable polymers are divided into two main categories: (a) Natural polymers obtained from natural resources during the growth cycles of all organisms, that are generally non-toxic and abundant, such as polysaccharides (chitosan, starch, cellulose, dextran, etc.,) and proteins (collagen, fibrin, albumin, etc.,), and (b) synthetic biodegradable polymers prepared by ring opening polymerization of cyclic esters and/or by melt polycondensation procedure, including aliphatic polyesters like poly(lactic  acid), poly(glycolic acid), poly(ε-caprolactone), poly(butylene succinate) and others, such as polyanhydrides, polyphosphazenes, polyurethanes, poly(hydroxy alkanoates) produced by microogranisms etc. This class of polymers bears many advantages compared to non-degradable polymers. They are readily and abundantly available (especially natural polymers), comparatively inexpensive, they can be modified to obtain semi-synthetic forms with new properties, whereas synthetic biodegradable polymers can be shortly degraded into nontoxic products. 

In recent years, due to the major environmental problems caused by the use of non-degradable polymers, biodegradable polymers have been increasingly gaining great interest. Biodegradable polyesters can be prepared naturally or by monomers derived from renewable sources. Natural polymers are completely biodegradable within a very short time, which is their key advantage, and they have high molecular weight. Aliphatic polyesters have also many benefits, being completely compostable or biodegradable, with no additional CO2 emissions after their complete biodegradation. The lattest are thermoplastic materials, completely recyclable and can be used in several applications like food packaging, single-use items, 3D printing, waste water treatment, cosmetics, drug delivery, biomedicine, tissue engineering, surgery, etc.

The aim of this Special Issue is to highlight the progress and fundamental aspects of the synthesis, characterization, properties, and applications of biodegrable polymers, as well as their copolymers, composites, and nanocomposites in several scientific fields. Scientific works and mostly short reviews are warmly welcome. 

Prof. Dr. Dimitrios Bikiaris
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Compostable polymers
  • Natural polymers
  • Polysaccharides
  • Proteins
  • Aliphatic polyesters
  • Mechanical properties
  • Thermal properties

Published Papers (3 papers)

2021

Review
Insights into Biodegradable Polymer-Supported Titanium Dioxide Photocatalysts for Environmental Remediation
Macromol 2021, 1(3), 201-233; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/macromol1030015 - 02 Aug 2021
Viewed by 412
Abstract
During the past two decades, immobilization of titanium dioxide (TiO2), a well-known photocatalyst, on several polymeric substrates has extensively gained ground since it limits the need of post-treatment separation stages. Taking into account the numerous substrates tested for supporting TiO2 [...] Read more.
During the past two decades, immobilization of titanium dioxide (TiO2), a well-known photocatalyst, on several polymeric substrates has extensively gained ground since it limits the need of post-treatment separation stages. Taking into account the numerous substrates tested for supporting TiO2 photocatalysts, the use of biodegradable polymer seems a hopeful option owing to its considerable merits, including the flexible nature, low price, chemical inertness, mechanical stability and wide feasibility. The present review places its emphasis on recently published research articles (2011–2021) and exhibits the most innovative studies facilitating the eco-friendly biodegradable polymers to fabricate polymer-based photocatalysts, while the preparation details, photocatalytic performance and reuse of the TiO2/polymer photocatalysts is also debated. The biodegradable polymers examined herein comprise of chitosan (CS), cellulose, alginate, starch, poly(lactid acid) (PLA), polycaprolactone (PCL) and poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA), while an emphasis on the synthetical pathway (dip-coating, electrospinning, etc.) of the photocatalysts is provided. Full article
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Review
Chitosan Adsorbent Derivatives for Pharmaceuticals Removal from Effluents: A Review
Macromol 2021, 1(2), 130-154; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/macromol1020011 - 11 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 680
Abstract
Chitin is mentioned as the second most abundant and important natural biopolymer in worldwide scale. The main sources for the extraction and exploitation of this natural polysaccharide polymer are crabs and shrimps. Chitosan (poly-β-(1 → 4)-2-amino-2-deoxy-d-glucose) is the most important derivative of chitin and can [...] Read more.
Chitin is mentioned as the second most abundant and important natural biopolymer in worldwide scale. The main sources for the extraction and exploitation of this natural polysaccharide polymer are crabs and shrimps. Chitosan (poly-β-(1 → 4)-2-amino-2-deoxy-d-glucose) is the most important derivative of chitin and can be used in a wide variety of applications including cosmetics, pharmaceutical and biomedical applications, food, etc., giving this substance high value-added applications. Moreover, chitosan has applications in adsorption because it contains amino and hydroxyl groups in its molecules, and can thus contribute to many possible adsorption interactions between chitosan and pollutants (pharmaceuticals/drugs, metals, phenols, pesticides, etc.). However, it must be noted that one of the most important techniques of decontamination is considered to be adsorption because it is simple, low-cost, and fast. This review emphasizes on recently published research papers (2013–2021) and briefly describes the chemical modifications of chitosan (grafting, cross-linking, etc.), for the adsorption of a variety of emerging contaminants from aqueous solutions, and characterization results. Finally, tables are depicted from selected chitosan synthetic routes and the pH effects are discussed, along with the best-fitting isotherm and kinetic models. Full article
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Article
Effect of Cyanuric Acid as an Efficient Nucleating Agent on the Crystallization of Novel Biodegradable Branched Poly(Ethylene Succinate)
Macromol 2021, 1(2), 112-120; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/macromol1020009 - 07 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 503
Abstract
Novel biodegradable branched poly(ethylene succinate) (b-PES) composites, i.e., nucleated b-PES samples, were prepared by incorporating low loadings of cyanuric acid (CA) through a solution and casting method to enhance the crystallization rate. As an efficient nucleating agent, CA could remarkably increase the nonisothermal [...] Read more.
Novel biodegradable branched poly(ethylene succinate) (b-PES) composites, i.e., nucleated b-PES samples, were prepared by incorporating low loadings of cyanuric acid (CA) through a solution and casting method to enhance the crystallization rate. As an efficient nucleating agent, CA could remarkably increase the nonisothermal melt crystallization peak temperature, shorten the crystallization half-time, accelerate the overall isothermal melt crystallization, and enhance the nucleation density of b-PES spherulites in the composites. Despite the addition of CA, the crystallization mechanism and crystal structure of b-PES remained unchanged. A possible epitaxial crystallization mechanism may account for the nucleation of b-PES crystals induced by CA. Full article
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