Open-to-Air RAFT Polymerization in Complex Solvents: From Whisky to Fermentation Broth

Deborah K. Schneiderman, Jeffrey M. Ting, Anatolii A. Purchel, Ron Miranda, Matthew V. Tirrell, Theresa M. Reineke, Stuart J. Rowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigate the use of in situ enzyme degassing to facilitate the open-to-air reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization of hydroxyethyl acrylate (HEA) in a wide range of complex aqueous solvents, including, beer, wine, liquor, and fermentation broth. This enzyme-assisted polymerization procedure is impressively robust, and poly(HEA) was attained with good control over molecular weight and a narrow dispersity in nearly all of the solvents tested. Kinetics experiments on HEA polymerization in whisky and spectroscopic analysis of the purified polymers suggest high end-group fidelity, as does the successful chain extension of a poly(HEA) macro chain transfer agent with narrow dispersity. These results suggest enzyme-assisted RAFT may be a powerful and underutilized tool for high-throughput screening and materials discovery and may simplify the synthesis of well-defined polymers in complex conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-411
Number of pages6
JournalACS Macro Letters
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 17 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
No beverage companies were involved in the conception or funding of this study. The inclusion of specific drink brands in this study should not be interpreted as an attempt by any of the authors to advocate their use as a solvent or for human consumption. This work was funded in part using support from the NSF Center of Sustainable Polymers CHE-1413862. J.M.T. acknowledges financial support from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) through the Center for Hierarchical Materials Design (CHiMaD) under financial assistance Award 70NANB14H012 as part of the NIST-CHiMaD Postdoctoral Fellowship. R.M. acknowledges support through the University of Chicago Materials Research Center (MRSEC) through the Summer Research Opportunity program. The authors thank Bryce Etheridge for supplying Malört and Handan Acar for supplying Raki, the Turkish national drink. They also thank YongSoo Hong at the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology for providing fermentation broth containing 4-hydroxystyrene. Parts of this work were carried out at the Soft Matter Characterization Facility of the University of Chicago. The authors thank Christopher J. Ellison for use of a DMF SEC.

Funding Information:
This work was funded in part using support from the NSF Center of Sustainable Polymers CHE-1413862.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Chemical Society.

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