Polymers From Carbohydrates


We have also recently reported a series of polylactides and co-polylactides end-capped/chain extended with carbohydrates which show enhanced degradation properties. Recently, the we prepared a new carbohydrate lactone in excellent yield (>80%) from D-gluconolactone. The novel lactone was subsequently polymerised, using a low-toxicity zinc catalyst, to produce a highly functionalised, degradable, aliphatic polyester. The new polymer has a low glass transition temperature and is highly hydrophilic; it can also be rapidly degraded to non-toxic, metabolites. This new carbohydrate monomer was copolymerised with lactide, to produce a copolymer which degrades significantly faster than polylactide alone; it is therefore of interest for degradable packaging applications as well as for more sophisticated medical markets. In collaboration with Prof. Molly Stevens we are exploring various medical applications for these new materials.

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