3-Hydroxypropionic Acid - Applications in Producing A Biodegradable Polymer

Applications in Producing A Biodegradable Polymer

A method has been developed by the University of Minnesota to produce a biodegradable polymer polyester known as poly(3-hydroxypropionic acid). The method combines the high-molecular weight and control aspects of ring-opening polymerization with the commercial availability of the beta hydroxy acid, 3-hydroxypropionic acid which is abbreviated as 3-HP. Since 3-HP can be derived from biological sources, the resulting material, poly(3-hydroxypropionic acid) or P(3-HP), is biorenewable. The new method allows direct synthesis of the bio-based polymer P(3-HP) from 3-HP, a commercial monomer that is derived from corn. The method uses a single vessel reactor for simple synthesis and rapid scale up. The method results in a higher molecular weight which makes the polymer more structurally sound using a process with lower toxicity than competing technologies.

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