Post-polymerization modification of bio-based polymers: Maximizing the high functionality of polymers derived from biomass

Thomas J. Farmer*, James W. Comerford, Alessandro Pellis, Tobias Robert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The renaissance of the bio-based chemical industry over the last 20years has seen an ever growing interest in the synthesis of new bio-based polymers. The building blocks of these new polymers, so called platform molecules, contain significantly more chemical functionality than their petrochemical counterparts (such as ethene, propene and para-xylene). As a result bio-based polymers often contain greater residual chemical functionality in their chains, with groups such as alkenes and hydroxyls commonly observed. These functional groups can act as sites for post-polymerization modification (PPM), thus further extending the range of applications for bio-based polymers by tailoring the polymers' final properties. This mini-review highlights some of the most recent and compelling examples of how to make use of bio-based polymers with residual functional groups for PPM. It also looks at how the emerging interdisciplinary field of enzymatic polymer synthesis allows for increased functionality in polymers by avoiding side-reactions as a result of milder reaction conditions, and additionally offers an alternative means of polymer surface modification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-789
Number of pages15
JournalPolymer international
Issue number67
Early online date23 Feb 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018 Society of Chemical Industry. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details


  • Bio-based monomers
  • Bio-based polymers
  • Enzymatic polymerization
  • Post-polymerization functionalization
  • Post-polymerization modification
  • Unsaturated polyester

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