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New vistas in mass spectrometry for sequence analysis of natural and synthetic biodegradable macromolecules


School of Biology, Chemistry and Forensic Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering,
University of  Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, WV1 1SB, United Kingdom


Biodegradable polymers have become materials of hope for the future and knowledge on the relationships between their structure, properties and function is essential for prospective safe applications of such materials in the areas of human health and the environment. Examples are given of the uses of mass spectrometry (MS) for structural studies of biodegradable (co)polymers along with the use of multi-stage electrospray mass spectrometry (ESI-MSn). Specifically they concern applications of MS forthe characterization of natural biodegradable polymers and their derivatives, ESI-MSn in the synthesis of biodegradable copolyesters, MS for forensic engineering of advanced biodegradable polymeric materials as well as ESI-MSn for identification of selected biodegradable polymers on the way of molecular labelling.

Biodegradable polymers play an important role in human life, increasingly becoming having an irreplaceable role. This concerns in particular medicaeproducts, including for example bioresorbable sutures or implants. It also concerns environmental issues in the area of compostable polymeric packaging materials of food, which could reduce the amount of currently generated cumbersome packaging waste from conventional plastics. When the development of biodegradable (co)polymers was in its infancy research focussed upon the effect of macromolecular architecture, new monomer systems, polymerization mechanisms, and different polymerization techniques on final biodegradable properties. Significant efforts have been directed towards specific areas, such as mechanisms of biodegradation, biocompatibility, processing conditions and potential applications in medicine, protection of environment and agro chemistry. However, such aspects like bio-safety of biodegradable polymers or nano-safety of their composites were, and still are, frequently neglected.iIn recent years there has been a rapid increase in the number of publications on biodegradable polyme ...

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