Enzymatic synthesis of lignin derivable pyridine based polyesters for the substitution of petroleum derived plastics

Alessandro Pellis*, James W. Comerford, Simone Weinberger, Georg M. Guebitz, James H. Clark, Thomas J. Farmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Following concerns over increasing global plastic pollution, interest in the production and characterization of bio-based and biodegradable alternatives is rising. In the present work, the synthesis of a series of fully bio-based alternatives based on 2,4-, 2,5-, and 2,6-pyridinedicarboxylic acid-derived polymers produced via enzymatic catalysis are reported. A similar series of aromatic-aliphatic polyesters based on diethyl-2,5-furandicarboxylate and of the petroleum-based diethyl terephthalate and diethyl isophthalate were also synthesized. Here we show that the enzymatic synthesis starting from 2,4-diethyl pyridinedicarboxylate leads to the best polymers in terms of molecular weights (M n = 14.3 and M w of 32.1 kDa when combined with 1,8-octanediol) when polymerized in diphenyl ether. Polymerization in solventless conditions were also successful leading to the synthesis of bio-based oligoesters that can be further functionalized. DSC analysis show a clear similarity in the thermal behavior between 2,4-diethyl pyridinedicarboxylate and diethyl isophthalate (amorphous polymers) and between 2,5-diethyl pyridinedicarboxylate and diethyl terephthalate (crystalline polymers).

Original languageEnglish
Article number1762
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2019.

Cite this