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, Volume: 17( 1) DOI: 10.37532/0974-7443.2022.17(1).172

Biotechnological creation and high capability of furan-based sustainable monomers and polymers

Sarah Lopez*

Sarah Lopez
Editorial office, Chemical Technology: An Indian Journal, United Kindom
E-mail: [email protected]

Received: January 10,2022; Accepted: January 22,2022; Published: January 31,2022

Citation: Lopez S. Biotechnological creation and high capability of furan-based sustainable monomers and polymers. Chem Tech Ind J. 2022;17(1):172


Of the 25 million tons of plastic waste delivered each year in Europe, 40% of these are not reused or reused, hence adding to ecological contamination, one of the significant difficulties of the 21st century. The vast majority of these plastics are made of petrochemical-inferred polymers which are extremely challenging to corrupt and therefore, a ton of examination endeavors have been made on more harmless to the ecosystem choices. Bio-based monomers, got from sustainable natural substances, establish a potential answer for the substitution of oil-determined monomers, with furan subordinates that arose as stage atoms having an incredible potential for the combination of biobased polyesters, polyamides and their copolymers. This audit article sums up the most recent improvements in biotechnological creation of furan intensifies that can be utilized in polymer science as well as in their transformation into polymers. Besides, the biodegradability of the subsequent materials is examined.


Biotechnology, long saved for research labs, is progressively utilized mechanically. It covers all innovations and applications utilizing or adjusting living materials. It is partitioned into 5 classes as indicated by its field of use: red (medication), green (agribusiness), blue (marine and new water), white (substance industry) and yellow (climate). The fundamental object of "white biotechnologies" is the production of substances synthetic compounds, materials or biofuels from sustainable bioresources utilizing microorganisms or secluded proteins [1]. The last option stir the interest of scientists by their capacity to catalyze compound responses in a very specific way, while regarding the standards of green science [2].

In any case, the utilization of secluded chemicals as an impetus in a response has specific disservices. Their cleaning is long and costly. Furthermore, they regularly expect immobilization to build their strength as well as their movement. One method for defeating these downsides is to complete microbiological changes, in other words, to utilize entire microorganisms to catalyze different synthetic responses. To be sure, the proteins contained in these entire cells are more steady in their regular cell medium than when they are confined. Entire cells likewise offer a more noteworthy variety of compounds. A few compounds can't be disconnected in dynamic structure and can catalyze in their normal cell climate. At last, entire cells enjoy the benefit of having the option to complete responses in a few phases by the joined activity of a few chemicals as well as of recovering coenzymes, for example, ATP and NADH utilizing the phone machine. Notwithstanding, contrasted with catalysis with disengaged compounds, unwanted side responses show up because of the large number of proteins in the microorganism. The low grouping of compounds additionally dials back responses. At long last, the groupings of substrates and items are lower because of the poisonousness issues in the entire cell.

This article centers around the biotechnological application to the amalgamation of single furan monomers and to the polycondensations of these bio-based monomers. These two methodologies should be recognized on the grounds that they react to various difficulties. For sure, the substrates for a polycondensation are more mind boggling than the substrates for a union of monomers. The trouble lies in tracking down reasonable catalysts for the biotransformation of unnatural substrates and polymers [3]. Without a doubt, the assortment of substrates acknowledged by the protein is exceptionally restricted contrasted with a synthetic impetus. The more complicated the substrate, the more outlandish the chemical is to be dynamic. Therefore, the response conditions should be advanced, the chemicals immobilized or hereditarily changed for these biotechnological cycles to be productive and usable on a modern scale [4].

 Biotechnological creation of furan subsidiaries for polymerization responses

Furfural and 5-Hydroxymethyl Furfural (HMF) are stage particles got from biomass that are the antecedents of different intriguing mixtures like solvents, biofuels and monomers utilized in polymer amalgamation. These mixtures are economically delivered through synthetic synthesis. However, these conventional substance strategies are by and large not quite certain cycles. To have the most ideal selectivity and thusly the most perfect conceivable item, insurance de protection methodologies and cleaning steps are essential. The more response ventures there are, the lower the last yield and the higher the expense of the response. What's more, they utilize metal impetuses, high temperatures, natural solvents and high tensions and along these lines contaminate the climate and, at times, are troublesome monetarily doable cycles [5]. According to a natural viewpoint it doesn't appear to be reasonable to supplant petrochemical compounds with bio-based particles while tolerating contamination during creation because of the pre-owned synthetics and impetuses. Rather, green cycles ought to be executed for the development of these items. Accordingly, since quite a while, specialists have been attempting to foster all the more harmless to the ecosystem creation processes that depend on chemicals or entire cells. These biocatalytic methodologies are fascinating for three primary reasons: the utilization of milder response conditions, an amazing selectivity and are all the more harmless to the ecosystem, prompting an impressive abatement in bothersome side items, less uncommon response conditions and less dirtying waste streams [6]. Nonetheless, contrasted with ordinary advancements, biotechnological processes have a few detriments. For sure, they are for the most part more slow. Their response times are of the request for days, though for substance processes it is somewhat hours. What's more, chemicals and entire cells are frequently shaky in arrangement, delicate to varieties in pH and temperature as well as to restraints brought about by the item or by abundance substrate. At last, purged catalysts are costly and frequently are explicit to a solitary item.

The biotechnological union of a few furan subordinates has been examined and incredible headway has been made, to the point that for certain mixtures (for example 2,5-furandicarboxylic corrosive) an upscale to modern plants is at present under way.

Enzymatic hydrolysis and reusing of furan-based polyesters

To diminish the adverse consequence of people on the climate, carrying out productive reusing, upcycling or biodegradation processes for plastic waste has become one of the significant difficulties of the 21st century. In this regard, one of the explored techniques is utilizing hydrolytic proteins to divide the ester (or amide) bonds acquiring the diacid and diols (diamine) monomers which establish the material. These particles can in a perfect world either be reused to shape new polymers and in this manner new materials or debased into straightforward components like CO2, water and methane. 

Furanic polyamides are obtained after polycondensation of diamines with FDCA and its derivatives (esters and acyl chlorides), generally chemically. However, the polymers obtained had small molecular weights. This problem may be related to the relative selectivity of chemical catalysts. One of the possible solutions is to replace them with enzymes and their high specificity. To our knowledge, the Loos working group is the only who has published enzymatic synthesis using Novozym 435 as a biocatalyst. Polymers having high molecular weights were obtained during the one-stage polycondensation of DMFDCA with several aliphatic diamines in toluene. However, the corresponding yields were all less than 55%. Indeed, in addition to the polymers, many oligomers of low molecular weight have also been synthesized and eliminated after the purification, thus explaining the low yields [7]. By changing the method and solvent, the yield of poly(octamethylene furanamide) (PA8F) increased from 53% to 70%. Indeed, the two-stage method at variable temperatures in diphenyl ether (DPE) thus made it possible to improve the yield while keeping a high molecular weight (54,000 Da). The second step of this process was carried out at a higher temperature of 140 °C which thus makes it possible to solve the problem of the low solubility of PA8F in DPE and thus to avoid the separation of the reaction medium into two phases as observed during previous reactions. In addition, this temperature increase allows more efficient removal of reaction's by-products such as methanol and water. However, this method uses DPE which is an organic solvent. Ionic liquids, more environmentally friendly solvents, could replace it because they have better solubility for FDCA-based polymers. Another environmentally-friendly solution is to use no solvent and use a so called “bulk” method. This type of method has been tested for the polycondensation of DMFDCA with hetero atoms diamines. This bulk polymerization method yielded polymers having rather good molecular weights (8000–16,600 Da) and higher yields because in this case a vacuum was applied in order to facilitate the removal of the reaction's byproduct from the reaction mixture. In the case of the one-stage polycondensation using toluene instead, the molecular weights are lower because the presence of solvent causes a modification of the conformation of the enzyme and thus the decrease in its activity. Moreover, in the case of the toluene polymerization, the application of a vacuum to remove the byproduct it is not possible since this solvent is rather volatile at the used reaction temperature. No physical studies have been yet performed for enzymatically produced polyamides.


Biotechnological synthesis of furan derivatives is possible on a laboratory scale with good yields. However, it still needs to be adapted and improved to reach feasibility on an industrial scale with the use of fed-batch, for example, to be able to be competitive with already existing chemical methods. 

Concerning the polymerization of furanic monomers into polymers, most of the syntheses present in the literature use chemical catalysts. Indeed, PEF, which is one of the most promising furan-based polymers (that aims to replace PET), has so far only been obtained by chemical methods. Additional research is therefore necessary to establish greener processes to ideally have bio-based polymers using environmentally friendly synthesis approaches.

Its biological origin, its interesting thermal properties as well as its excellent barrier properties to O2 and CO2 make PEF an ideal substitute for PET which is one of the most used polyesters in today's packaging industry. However, PEF's low crystallinity and its low elongation at break hinders its application in food packaging and in the production of plastic bottles. To improve its weaknesses, other polyesters and co-polymers have been synthetized. Unfortunately, in most cases, when their elongation at break or their crystallinity were better than the ones of PEF, the thermal properties were negatively affected. 

The enzymatic degradation of PEF and of furan-based polymers more in general, is instead a field still wide open for research since very few reports are present in the literature and despite showing some promising results, scales are still in the order of few grams of produced polymer. Degradability is in fact one of the most important properties to look at when designing tomorrow's new generation of polymers since there is a strong need to reduce their impact on the environment. It is therefore necessary that the degradation of these polymers continues to be investigated to really know if the furan polymers will have less negative impact on the environment than their terephthalate counterparts. From preliminary studies it seems that FDCAbased polyesters are more enzymatically degradable than TA-based one but further biodegradability studies are needed to have a complete picture. 

In conclusion, there are several new biobased polymers that look promising: polymers derived from 2,5-triophenedicarboxylic acid, like poly(2,5-butylene thiophenedicarboxylate), have better barrier properties and higher crystallinity than PEF showing also good thermal and mechanical properties. It could therefore be interesting to synthesize co-polymers formed from FDCA and 2,5-Triophenedicarboxylic Acid (TDCA) to be able to assess their properties and characteristics.