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Bioplastic wonderland established based on multifunctionality of aromatic biochemicals

Tatsuo Kaneko Research Center for Highly Environmental and Recyclable Polymers, School of Materials Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST)

The significance of renewable biochemicals is increasing year by year while the seriousness in the earth environment is escalating. Especially biochemicals can contribute to low-carbonation in materials processing and waste reduction in the materials deposition. However, most biochemicals difficultly receive chemical treatments due to their complexity of structures such as multi-functionality and multi-reactivity. If the multi-reactivity was controlled, new functional materials may be developed. For example, sucrose has 8 hydroxyls and 3 ethers but it is highly bioavailable to materialize as a sweetener. If sucrose is produced by petro-chemistry, the production cost will be too high to develop it. In our study, we prepared bio-based plastics based on the multi-functionality and multi-reactivity of biochemicals. Caffeic acid, which has 2 hydroxyls and 1 carboxyl and is bioavailable from coffee beans and other variousbiomaterials, was used as an AB2-type multifunctional monomer to create the branching point in the polymer backbone. Then we produced high-heat resistance and environmentally-degradable plastics composed of the hyperbranching polymers containing caffeic acid branches, and other materials such as photo-functional biopolymers and high-performance bio-adhesives.

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