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Plastics from Bacteria
14, No., 2010; Pages: 347 - 388

Microbial succinic acid, its polymer poly (butylene succinate), and applications

Jun Xu, Bao-Hua Guo


Succinic acid is an important platform chemical derived from petrochemical or bio-based feedstocks and can be transformed into a wide range of chemicals and polymers. Increasing demand for biodegradable poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) will open up a new market for succinic acid. In this chapter, the synthesis of succinic acid is briefly reviewed. We focus on the polymerization, crystalline structure, thermal and mechanical properties, and biodegradability of PBS and its copolymers. PBS shows balanced mechanical properties similar to those of polyethylene and excellent performance during thermal processing. In addition, PBS and its copolymers can biodegrade in various environments, such as soil burial, river, sea, activated sludge, and compost. The properties and biodegradation rate can be easily tuned via copolymerization. Consequently, lowering the cost of the feedstock, molecular design, and further understanding of the processing - structure - performance of polyesters will be greatly beneficial to expand the market for succinic acid, PBS, and PBS copolymers.

Keywords:platform chemical derived from petrochemical or bio-based,biodegradable poly(butylene succinate) (PBS),soil burial, river, sea.


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