14 research outputs found

    Nature Inspired Solutions for Polymers: Will Cutinase Enzymes Make Polyesters and Polyamides Greener?

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    5siThe polymer and plastic sectors are under the urge of mitigating their environmental impact. The need for novel and more benign catalysts for polyester synthesis or targeted functionalization led, in recent years, to an increasing interest towards cutinases due to their natural ability to hydrolyze ester bonds in cutin, a natural polymer. In this review, the most recent advances in the synthesis and hydrolysis of various classes of polyesters and polyamides are discussed with a critical focus on the actual perspectives of applying enzymatic technologies for practical industrial purposes. More specifically, cutinase enzymes are compared to lipases and, in particular, to lipase B from Candida antarctica, the biocatalyst most widely employed in polymer chemistry so far. Computational and bioinformatics studies suggest that the natural role of cutinases in attacking natural polymers confer some essential features for processing also synthetic polyesters and polyamides.openopenFerrario, Valerio; Pellis, Alessandro; Cespugli, Marco; Guebitz, Georg; Gardossi, LuciaFerrario, Valerio; Pellis, Alessandro; Cespugli, Marco; Guebitz, Georg; Gardossi, Luci

    Functionalization of Enzymatically Synthesized Rigid Poly(itaconate)s via Post-Polymerization aza-Michael Addition of Primary Amines

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    8The bulky 1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol was used as co-monomer for introducing rigidity in lipase synthetized poly(itaconates). Poly(1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol itaconate) was synthetized on a 14 g scale at 50°C, under solvent-free conditions and 70 mbar using only 135 Units of lipase B from Candida antarctica per gram of monomer. The mild conditions preserved the labile vinyl group of itaconic acid and avoided the decomposition of 1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol observed in chemical polycondensation. Experimental and computational data show that the enzymatic polycondensation proceeds despite the low reactivity of C1 of itaconic acid. The rigid poly(1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol itaconate) was investigated in the context of aza-Michael addition of hexamethylenediamine and 2-phenylethylamine to the vinyl moiety. The enzymatically synthesized linear poly(1,4-butylene itaconate) was studied as a comparison. The two oligoesters (Molecular Weights ranging from 720 to 2859 g mol-1) reacted on a gram scale, at 40-50°C, at atmospheric pressure and in solvent-free conditions. The addition of primary amines led to amine-functionalized oligoesters but also to chain degradation, and the reactivity of the poly(itaconate)s was influenced by the rigidity of the polymer chain. Upon the formation of the secondary amine adduct, the linear poly(1,4-butylene itaconate) undergoes fast intramolecular cyclization and subsequent degradation via pyrrolidone formation, especially in the presence of hexamethylenediamine. On the contrary, the bulky 1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol confers rigidity to poly(1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol itaconate), which hampers the intramolecular cyclization. Also the bulkiness of the amine and the use of solvent emerged as factors that affect the reactivity of poly(itaconate)s. Therefore, the possibility to insert discrete units of itaconic acid in oligoesters using biocatalysts under solvent-free mild conditions opens new routes for the generation of bio-based functional polymers or amine-triggered degradable materials, as a function of the rigidity of the polyester chain.partially_openopenAlice Guarneri, Viola Cutifani, Marco Cespugli, Alessandro Pellis, Roberta Vassallo, Fioretta Asaro, Cynthia Ebert, Lucia GardossiGuarneri, Alice; Viola, Cutifani; Cespugli, Marco; Alessandro, Pellis; Roberta, Vassallo; Asaro, Fioretta; Ebert, Cynthia; Gardossi, Luci

    Fully renewable polyesters via polycondensation catalyzed by Thermobifida cellulosilytica cutinase 1: an integrated approach

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    The present study addresses comprehensively the problem of producing polyesters through sustainable processes while using fully renewable raw materials and biocatalysts. Polycondensation of bio-based dimethyl adipate with different diols was catalyzed by cutinase 1 from Thermobifida cellulosilytica (Thc_cut1) under solvent free and thin-film conditions. The biocatalyst was immobilized efficiently on a fully renewable cheap carrier based on milled rice husk. A multivariate factorial design demonstrated that Thc_cut1 is less sensitive to the presence of water in the system and it works efficiently under milder conditions (50 \ub0C; 535 mbar) when compared to lipase B from Candida antarctica (CaLB), thus enabling energy savings. Experimental and computational investigations of cutinase 1 from Thermobifida cellulosilytica (Thc_cut1) disclosed structural and functional features that make this serine-hydrolase efficient in polycondensation reactions. Bioinformatic analysis performed with the BioGPS tool pointed out functional similarities with CaLB and provided guidelines for future engineering studies aiming, for instance, at introducing different promiscuous activities in the Thc_cut1 scaffold. The results set robust premises for a full exploitation of enzymes in environmentally and economically sustainable enzymatic polycondensation reactions

    A community effort in SARS-CoV-2 drug discovery.

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    peer reviewedThe COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a substantial threat to human lives and is likely to do so for years to come. Despite the availability of vaccines, searching for efficient small-molecule drugs that are widely available, including in low- and middle-income countries, is an ongoing challenge. In this work, we report the results of an open science community effort, the "Billion molecules against Covid-19 challenge", to identify small-molecule inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2 or relevant human receptors. Participating teams used a wide variety of computational methods to screen a minimum of 1 billion virtual molecules against 6 protein targets. Overall, 31 teams participated, and they suggested a total of 639,024 molecules, which were subsequently ranked to find 'consensus compounds'. The organizing team coordinated with various contract research organizations (CROs) and collaborating institutions to synthesize and test 878 compounds for biological activity against proteases (Nsp5, Nsp3, TMPRSS2), nucleocapsid N, RdRP (only the Nsp12 domain), and (alpha) spike protein S. Overall, 27 compounds with weak inhibition/binding were experimentally identified by binding-, cleavage-, and/or viral suppression assays and are presented here. Open science approaches such as the one presented here contribute to the knowledge base of future drug discovery efforts in finding better SARS-CoV-2 treatments.R-AGR-3826 - COVID19-14715687-CovScreen (01/06/2020 - 31/01/2021) - GLAAB Enric

    Rice Husk as an Inexpensive Renewable Immobilization Carrier for Biocatalysts Employed in the Food, Cosmetic and Polymer Sectors

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    The high cost and environmental impact of fossil-based organic carriers represent a critical bottleneck to their use in large-scale industrial processes. The present study demonstrates the applicability of rice husk as inexpensive renewable carrier for the immobilization of enzymes applicable sectors where the covalent anchorage of the protein is a pre-requisite for preventing protein contamination while assuring the recyclability. Rice husk was oxidized and then functionalized with a di-amino spacer. The morphological characterization shed light on the properties that affect the functionalization processes. Lipase B from Candida antarctica (CaLB) and two commercial asparaginases were immobilized covalently achieving higher immobilization yield than previously reported. All enzymes were immobilized also on commercial epoxy methacrylic resins and the CaLB immobilized on rice husk demonstrated a higher efficiency in the solvent-free polycondensation of dimethylitaconate. CaLB on rice husk appears particularly suitable for applications in highly viscous processes because of the unusual combination of its low density and remarkable mechanical robustness. In the case of the two asparaginases, the biocatalyst immobilized on rice husk performed in aqueous solution at least as efficiently as the enzyme immobilized on methacrylic resins, although the rice husk loaded a lower amount of protein

    Nature inspired solutions for polymers: will cutinase enzymes make polyesters and polyamides greener?

    No full text
    The polymer and plastic sectors are under the urge of mitigating their environmental impact. The need for novel and more benign catalysts for polyester synthesis or targeted functionalization led, in recent years, to an increasing interest towards cutinases due to their natural ability to hydrolyze ester bonds in cutin, a natural polymer. In this review, the most recent advances in the synthesis and hydrolysis of various classes of polyesters and polyamides are discussed with a critical focus on the actual perspectives of applying enzymatic technologies for practical industrial purposes. More specifically, cutinase enzymes are compared to lipases and, in particular, to lipase B from Candida antarctica, the biocatalyst most widely employed in polymer chemistry so far. Computational and bioinformatics studies suggest that the natural role of cutinases in attacking natural polymers confer some essential features for processing also synthetic polyesters and polyamides

    Rational guidelines for the two-step scalability of enzymatic polycondensation: experimental and computational optimization of the enzymatic synthesis of poly(glycerolazelate)

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    8si: The lipase catalyzed polycondensation of azelaic acid and glycerol was investigated according to a Design of Experiment approach that allowed to understand the effect of the experimental variables on monomer conversion, M n and regioselectivity of acylation of glycerol. The chemometric analysis showed that after 24h the reaction proceeds regardless of the presence of the enzyme. Accordingly, the biocatalyst was removed after a first step of synthesis and the chain elongation continued at 80°C. That allowed the removal of the biocatalyst and the preservation of its activity: pre-requites for efficient applicability at industrial scale. The experimental study, combined with docking based computational analysis, provided rational guidelines for the optimization of the regioselective acylation of glycerol. Overall, the process was scaled up to 73.5 g of monomer. The novelty of the present study stays in the rigorous control of the reaction conditions and of the integrity of the immobilized biocatalyst, thus avoiding any interference of free enzyme or fines released in the reaction mixture.  The quantitative analysis of the effect of the experimental conditions and the overcoming of the major technical bottlenecks for the scalability of enzymatic polycondensation opens new scenarios for its industrial exploitation.noneopenTodea, Anamaria; Fortuna, Sara; Ebert, Cynthia; Asaro, Fioretta; Tomada, Stefano; Cespugli, Marco; Hollan, Fabio; Gardossi, LuciaTodea, Anamaria; Fortuna, Sara; Ebert, Cynthia; Asaro, Fioretta; Tomada, Stefano; Cespugli, Marco; Hollan, Fabio; Gardossi, Luci

    Functionalization of Enzymatically Synthesized Rigid Poly(itaconate)s via Post\u2010Polymerization Aza\u2010Michael Addition of Primary Amines

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    The bulky 1,4\u2010cyclohexanedimethanol was used as co\u2010monomer for introducing rigidity in lipase synthetized poly(itaconate)s. Poly(1,4\u2010cyclohexanedimethanol itaconate) was synthetized on a 14\u2005g scale at 50\u2009\ub0C, under solvent\u2010free conditions and 70\u2005mbar using only 135 Units of lipase B from Candida antarctica per gram of monomer. The mild conditions preserved the labile vinyl group of itaconic acid and avoided the decomposition of 1,4\u2010cyclohexanedimethanol, both observed in chemical polycondensations. Experimental and computational data show that the enzymatic polycondensation proceeds despite the low reactivity of C1 of itaconic acid. The rigid poly(1,4\u2010cyclohexanedimethanol itaconate) was investigated in the context of aza\u2010Michael addition of hexamethylenediamine and 2\u2010phenylethylamine to the vinyl moiety. The enzymatically synthesized linear poly(1,4\u2010butylene itaconate) was studied as a comparison. The two oligoesters (Molecular Weights ranging from 720 to 2859\u2005g\u2009mol 121) reacted on a gram scale, at 40\u201350\u2009\ub0C, at atmospheric pressure and in solvent\u2010free conditions. The addition of primary amines led to amine\u2010functionalized oligoesters but also to chain degradation, and the reactivity of the poly(itaconate)s was influenced by the rigidity of the polymer chain. Upon the formation of the secondary amine adduct, the linear poly(1,4\u2010butylene itaconate) undergoes fast intramolecular cyclization and subsequent degradation via pyrrolidone formation, especially in the presence of hexamethylenediamine. On the contrary, the bulky 1,4\u2010cyclohexanedimethanol confers rigidity to poly(1,4\u2010cyclohexanedimethanol itaconate), which hampers the intramolecular cyclization. Also, the bulkiness of the amine and the use of solvent emerged as factors that affect the reactivity of poly(itaconate)s. Therefore, the possibility to insert discrete units of itaconic acid in oligoesters using biocatalysts under solvent\u2010free mild conditions opens new routes for the generation of bio\u2010based functional polymers or amine\u2010triggered degradable materials, as a function of the rigidity of the polyester chain
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