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Enhancement of the properties of biosourced poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) by the incorporation of natural orotic acid

Yu, Yancun, Li, Yi, Han, Changyu, Xiao, Liguang
International journal of biological macromolecules 2019 v.136 pp. 764-773
biodegradation, crystal structure, crystallization, enzymatic hydrolysis, orotic acid, rheological properties, temperature, thermal degradation, thermal stability
The aim of this study is to use natural orotic acid (OA) as a sustainable, environmentally friendly additive to improve the crystallization, rheological, thermal, mechanical, and biodegradation properties of bacterially synthesized poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) (P34HB). OA was found to be an efficient nucleating agent for P34HB, and dramatically enhanced both non-isothermal and isothermal crystallization rates. The incorporation of OA increased nucleation density and decreased spherulite size, but had little effect on the crystalline structure. The rheological properties of the P34HB were greatly improved by the solid filler OA, particularly when a percolation network structure was formed in the blends. The thermal stability of P34HB was strongly enhanced, as exemplified by the ~23 °C increase in the onset thermal decomposition temperature (To) for the blend loaded with 5 wt% OA compared to that of pure P34HB. Moreover, the yield strength and elongation at break of P34HB containing 0.5 wt% OA increased by 25% and 119%, respectively. The most intriguing result was the clear enhancement in the enzymatic hydrolysis rates of the P34HB/OA blends compared to that of neat P34HB. The synergetic improvement in these properties may be of significant importance for the wider practical application of biosourced P34HB.