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The in vitro Synthesis of Cellulose

Author(s)

A.F. Lehrhofer, T. Goto, T. Kawada, T. Rosenau, H. Hettegger

Sources

The in vitro synthesis of cellulose: A mini-review https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2022.119222

The implementation of cellulose as a green alternative to classical polymers sparks research on the synthesis of defined derivatives of this biopolymer for various high-tech applications. Apart from the scientific challenge, the in vitro synthesis of cellulose using a bottom-up approach provides specimens with absolutely accurate substituent patterns and degrees of polymerization, not accessible from native cellulose. Synthetic cellulose exhibiting a comparably high degree of polymerization (DP) was obtained starting from cellobiose by biocatalytic synthesis implementing cellulase. Cationic ring-opening polymerization has been established in the last two decades, representing an excellent means of precise modification with regards to regio- and stereoselective substitution. This method rendered isotopically enriched cellulose as well as enantiomers of native cellulose (“L-cellulose”, “D, L-cellulose”) accessible. In this review, techniques for in vitro cellulose synthesis are summarized and critically compared – with a special focus on more recent developments. This is complemented by a brief overview of alternative “enzymatic” approaches.

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