Technological watch

Comparative Structure-Property Characterization of Poly(3-Hydroxybutyrate-??-3-Hydroxyvalerate)s Films Under Hydrolytic And Enzymatic Degradation: Finding a Transition Point in 3-Hydroxyvalerate Content

The hydrolytic and enzymatic degradation of polymer films of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) of different molecular mass and its copolymers with 3-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV) of different 3-hydroxyvalerate (3-HV) content and molecular mass, 3-hydroxy-4-methylvalerate (PHB4MV), and polyethylene glycol (PHBV-PEG) produced by the Azotobacter chroococcum 7B by controlled biosynthesis technique were studied under in vitro model conditions. The changes in the physicochemical properties of the polymers during their in vitro degradation in the pancreatic lipase solution and in phosphate-buffered saline for a long time (183 days) were investigated using different analytical techniques. A mathematical model was used to analyze the kinetics of hydrolytic degradation of poly(3-hydroxyaklannoate)s by not autocatalytic and autocatalytic hydrolysis mechanisms. It was also shown that the degree of crystallinity of some polymers changes differently during degradation in vitro. The total mass of the films decreased slightly up to 8–9% (for the high-molecular weight PHBV with the 3-HV content 17.6% and 9%), in contrast to the copolymer molecular mass, the decrease of which reached 80%. The contact angle for all copolymers after the enzymatic degradation decreased by an average value of 23% compared to 17% after the hydrolytic degradation. Young’s modulus increased up to 2-fold. It was shown that the effect of autocatalysis was observed during enzymatic degradation, while autocatalysis was not available during hydrolytic degradation. During hydrolytic and enzymatic degradation in vitro, it was found that PHBV, containing 5.7–5.9 mol.% 3-HV and having about 50% crystallinity degree, presents critical content, beyond which the structural and mechanical properties of the copolymer have essentially changed. The obtained results could be applicable to biomedical polymer systems and food packaging materials.

Publication date: 24/03/2020

Author: Zhuikov

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym12030728

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.