66 research outputs found

    On the Effect of Microwave Energy on Lipase-Catalyzed Polycondensation Reactions

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    Microwave energy (MWe) is, nowadays, widely used as a clean synthesis tool to improve several chemical reactions, such as drug molecule synthesis, carbohydrate conversion and biomass pyrolysis. On the other hand, its exploitation in enzymatic reactions has only been fleetingly investigated and, hence, further study of MWe is required to reach a precise understanding of its potential in this field. Starting from the authors’ experience in clean synthesis and biocatalyzed reactions, this study sheds light on the possibility of using MWe for enhancing enzyme-catalyzed polycondensation reactions and pre-polymer formation. Several systems and set ups were investigated involving bulk and organic media (solution phase) reactions, different enzymatic preparations and various starting bio-based monomers. Results show that MWe enables the biocatalyzed synthesis of polyesters and pre-polymers in a similar way to that reported using conventional heating with an oil bath, but in a few cases, notably bulk phase polycondensations under intense microwave irradiation, MWe leads to a rapid enzyme deactivation

    Criteria for Engineering Cutinases: Bioinformatics Analysis of Catalophores

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    Cutinases are bacterial and fungal enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of natural cutin, a three-dimensional inter-esterified polyester with epoxy-hydroxy fatty acids with chain lengths between 16 and 18 carbon atoms. Due to their ability to accept long chain substrates, cutinases are also effective in catalyzing in vitro both the degradation and synthesis of several synthetic polyesters and polyamides. Here, we present a bioinformatics study that intends to correlate the structural features of cutinases with their catalytic properties to provide rational basis for their effective exploitation, particularly in polymer synthesis and biodegradation. The bioinformatics study used the BioGPS method (Global Positioning System in Biological Space) that computed molecular descriptors based on Molecular Interaction Fields (MIFs) described in the GRID force field. The information was used to generate catalophores, spatial representations of the ability of each enzymatic active site to establish hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions. These tools were exploited for comparing cutinases to other serine-hydrolases enzymes, namely lipases, esterases, amidases and proteases, and for highlighting differences and similarities that might guide rational engineering strategies. Structural features of cutinases with their catalytic properties were correlated. The \u201ccatalophore\u201d of cutinases indicate shared features with lipases and esterases

    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

    Cutinase-Catalyzed Polyester-Polyurethane Degradation: Elucidation of the Hydrolysis Mechanism

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    open5siPolyurethanes (PU) are one of the most-used classes of synthetic polymers in Europe, having a considerable impact on the plastic waste management in the European Union. Therefore, they represent a major challenge for the recycling industry, which requires environmentally friendly strategies to be able to re-utilize their monomers without applying hazardous and polluting substances in the process. In this work, enzymatic hydrolysis of a polyurethane-polyester (PU-PE) copolymer using Humicola insolens cutinase (HiC) has been investigated in order to achieve decomposition at milder conditions and avoiding harsh chemicals. PU-PE films have been incubated with the enzyme at 50 degrees C for 168 h, and hydrolysis has been followed throughout the incubation. HiC effectively hydrolysed the polymer, reducing the number average molecular weight (M-n) and the weight average molecular weight (M-w) by 84% and 42%, respectively, as shown by gel permeation chromatography (GPC), while scanning electron microscopy showed cracks at the surface of the PU-PE films as a result of enzymatic surface erosion. Furthermore, Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) analysis showed a reduction in the peaks at 1725 cm(-1), 1164 cm(-1) and 1139 cm(-1), indicating that the enzyme preferentially hydrolysed ester bonds, as also supported by the nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) results. Liquid chromatography time-of-flight/mass spectrometry (LC-MS-Tof) analysis revealed the presence in the incubation supernatant of all of the monomeric constituents of the polymer, thus suggesting that the enzyme was able to hydrolyse both the ester and the urethane bonds of the polymer.openDi Bisceglie, Federico; Quartinello, Felice; Vielnascher, Robert; Guebitz, Georg M.; Pellis, AlessandroDi Bisceglie, Federico; Quartinello, Felice; Vielnascher, Robert; Guebitz, Georg M.; Pellis, Alessandr

    Enzymatic synthesis of biobased polyesters utilizing aromatic diols as the rigid component

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    In the present work, the biocatalyzed synthesis of a series of aromatic-aliphatic polyesters based on the aliphatic diesters dimethyl succinate, dimethyl adipate and dimethyl sebacate and the aromatic diols 2,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan, 3,4-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan and 2,6-pyridinedimethanol were investigated. A similar series of polyesters based on the petroleum-based 1,3-benzenedimethanol, 1,4-benzenedimethanol and 1,4-benzenediethanol were also synthesized for comparison. Data show that the enzymatic syntheses were successful starting from all diols, with the obtained polymers having isolated yields between 67 and over 90%, number average molecular weights between 3000 Da and 5000 Da and degree of polymerization (DP) of 6‚Äď18 (based on the used aliphatic diesters and aromatic diols) when polymerized in diphenyl ether as solvent. Only using 3,4-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan as the diol led to shorter oligomers with isolated yields around 50% and DPs of 3‚Äď5. DSC and TGA thermal analyses show clear correlation between polymer crystallinity and aliphatic carbon chain length of the diester

    The Closure of the Cycle: Enzymatic Synthesis and Functionalization of Bio-Based Polyesters

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    The polymer industry is under pressure to mitigate the environmental cost of petrol-based plastics. Biotechnologies contribute to the gradual replacement of petrol-based chemistry and the development of new renewable products, leading to the closure of carbon circle. An array of bio-based building blocks is already available on an industrial scale and is boosting the development of new generations of sustainable and functionally competitive polymers, such as polylactic acid (PLA). Biocatalysts add higher value to bio-based polymers by catalyzing not only their selective modification, but also their synthesis under mild and controlled conditions. The ultimate aim is the introduction of chemical functionalities on the surface of the polymer while retaining its bulk properties, thus enlarging the spectrum of advanced applications

    Towards feasible and scalable solvent-free enzymatic polycondensations: integrating robust biocatalysts with thin film reactions

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    There is an enormous potential for synthesizing novel bio-based functionalized polyesters under environmentally benign conditions by exploiting the catalytic efficiency and selectivity of enzymes. Despite the wide number of studies addressing in vitro enzymatic polycondensation, insufficient progress has been documented in the last two decades towards the preparative and industrial application of this methodology. The present study analyses bottlenecks hampering the practical applicability of enzymatic polycondensation that have been most often neglected in the past, with a specific focus on solvent-free processes. Data here presented elucidate how classical approaches for enzyme immobilization combined with batch reactor configuration translate into insufficient mass transfer as well as limited recyclability of the biocatalyst. In order to overcome such bottlenecks, the present study proposes thin-film processes employing robust covalently immobilized lipases. The strategy was validated experimentally by carrying out the solvent-free polycondensation of esters of adipic and itaconic acids. The results open new perspectives for enlarging the applicability of biocatalysts in other viscous and solvent-free syntheses

    Exploring mild enzymatic sustainable routes for the synthesis of bio-degradable aromatic-aliphatic oligoesters

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    The application of Candida antarctica lipase B in enzyme-catalyzed synthesis of aromatic-aliphatic oligoesters is here reported. The aim of the present study is to systematically investigate the most favorable conditions for the enzyme catalyzed synthesis of aromatic-aliphatic oligomers using commercially available monomers. Reaction conditions and enzyme selectivity for polymerization of various commercially available monomers were considered using different inactivated/activated aromatic monomers combined with linear polyols ranging from C2 to C12. The effect of various reaction solvents in enzymatic polymerization was assessed and toluene allowed to achieve the highest conversions for the reaction of dimethyl isophthalate with 1,4-butanediol and with 1,10-decanediol (88 and 87% monomer conversion respectively). Mw as high as 1512 Da was obtained from the reaction of dimethyl isophthalate with ,10-decanediol. The obtained oligomers have potential applications as raw materials in personal and home care formulations, for the production of aliphatic-aromatic block co-polymers or can be further functionalized with various moieties for a subsequent photo- or radical polymerization

    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¬įC, 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¬įC, 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

    Elucidating enzymatic polymerisations : Chain-length selectivity of Candida antarctica lipase B towards various aliphatic diols and dicarboxylic acid diesters

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    The sustainable synthesis of polymers is a field with growing interest due to the need of modern society to preserve the environment whilst making used products and food sustainable for the future generations. In this work we investigate the possibility of synthesizing aliphatic polyesters derived from various dicarboxylic acid diesters and diols in a solvent-free reaction system. Candida antarctica lipase B was selected as biocatalyst and its selectivity towards the carbon and ester chain length were elucidated. The selected enzyme was able to synthesize various polyesters combining C4-C10 diesters and C4-C8 diols. All combinations led to monomer conversions above 90% in 24 h with the best number average molecular weights (Mn) being obtained through the combination of dimethyl adipate and 1,8-octanediol leading to a Mn of 7141 Da. Differential scanning calorimetry analysis shows a clear trend with an increase in melting temperature of the polymers that correlates with both the increase of the Mn or of the polymer's constitutional repeat unit carbon chain length. Thermogravimetric analysis and rheology measurements performed on selected samples also confirm the trend showing a variation of the polymer's degradation temperatures and viscosity profiles
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