American Chemical Society
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Modular Functionalization of Laminarin to Create Value-Added Naturally Derived Macromolecules

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-11-09, 20:06 authored by Ana M. S. Costa, João M. M. Rodrigues, Maria M. Pérez-Madrigal, Andrew P. Dove, João F. Mano
With society’s growing awareness of climate change, novel renewable and naturally sourced materials have received increasing attention as substitutes for petroleum-based products. Laminarin (LAM–OH) is a highly abundant, nontoxic, degradable polysaccharide found in marine organisms and hence is a promising sustainable polymeric candidate. This work reports on a simple, environmentally friendly, and customizable functionalization strategy for producing a toolbox of LAM–OH derivatives under mild conditions. Herein, natural-origin macromolecules exhibiting specific chemical moieties, namely, allyl, amine, carboxylic acid, thiol, aldehyde, and catechol, were prepared and chemically characterized. Furthermore, the obtained polymers were processed into cytocompatible hydrogels, obtained by employing distinct cross-linking mechanisms, to assess their potential for biomedical purposes. The application scope of such polymers could be extended to fields such as catalysis, cosmetics, life sciences, and food packaging, which can also benefit from having sustainable, nontoxic, and degradable materials. Moreover, it is anticipated that the methodology employed to create this library of new natural-based products could be adapted to modify other polysaccharides and biopolymers in general.