Enzymatic synthesis of poly(hydroxyalkanoates) in ionic liquids

Johnathan T. Gorke, Krzysztof Okrasa, Andrew Louwagie, Romas J. Kazlauskas, Friedrich Srienc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations


Ring-opening polymerization of five lactones catalyzed by Candida antarctica lipase B in ionic liquids yielded poly(hydroxyalkanoates) of moderate molecular weights up to Mn = 13,000. In the ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethane)-sulfonimide and with a low weight ratio of enzyme to lactone (1:100) we obtained polymers from β-propiolactone, δ-valerolactone, and ε-caprolactone with degrees of polymerization as high as 170, 25, and 85, respectively; oligomers from β-butyrolactone and γ-butyrolactone with degrees of polymerization of 5; and a copolymer of β-propiolactone and β-butyrolactone with a degree of polymerization of 180. Water-immiscible ionic liquids were superior to water-miscible ionic liquids. Reducing the water content of the enzyme improved the degree of polymerization by as much as 50% for β-propiolactone and ε-caprolactone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-313
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007


  • CALB
  • Ionic liquids
  • Lactones
  • PHAs
  • Poly(hydroxyalkanoates)
  • Ring-opening polymerization

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Enzymatic synthesis of poly(hydroxyalkanoates) in ionic liquids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this