Environmentally Benign CO2-Based Copolymers: Degradable Polycarbonates Derived from Dihydroxybutyric Acid and Their Platinum-Polymer Conjugates. Academic Article uri icon


  • (S)-3,4-Dihydroxybutyric acid ((S)-3,4-DHBA), an endogenous straight chain fatty acid, is a normal human urinary metabolite and can be obtained as a valuable chiral biomass for synthesizing statin-class drugs. Hence, its epoxide derivatives should serve as promising monomers for producing biocompatible polymers via alternating copolymerization with carbon dioxide. In this report, we demonstrate the production of poly(tert-butyl 3,4-dihydroxybutanoate carbonate) from racemic-tert-butyl 3,4-epoxybutanoate (rac-(t)Bu 3,4-EB) and CO2 using bifunctional cobalt(III) salen catalysts. The copolymer exhibited greater than 99% carbonate linkages, 100% head-to-tail regioselectivity, and a glass-transition temperature (Tg) of 37 C. By way of comparison, the similarly derived polycarbonate from the sterically less congested monomer, methyl 3,4-epoxybutanoate, displayed 91.8% head-to-tail content and a lower Tg of 18 C. The tert-butyl protecting group of the pendant carboxylate group was removed using trifluoroacetic acid to afford poly(3,4-dihydroxybutyric acid carbonate). Depolymerization of poly(tert-butyl 3,4-dihydroxybutanoate carbonate) in the presence of strong base results in a stepwise unzipping of the polymer chain to yield the corresponding cyclic carbonate. Furthermore, the full degradation of the acetyl-capped poly(potassium 3,4-dihydroxybutyrate carbonate) resulted in formation of the biomasses, -hydroxy--butyrolacetone and 3,4-dihydroxybutyrate, in water (pH = 8) at 37 C. In addition, water-soluble platinum-polymer conjugates were synthesized with platinum loading of 21.3-29.5%, suggesting poly(3,4-dihydroxybutyric acid carbonate) and related derivatives may serve as platinum drug delivery carriers.

published proceedings

  • J Am Chem Soc

altmetric score

  • 4

author list (cited authors)

  • Tsai, F., Wang, Y., & Darensbourg, D. J.

citation count

  • 41

complete list of authors

  • Tsai, Fu-Te||Wang, Yanyan||Darensbourg, Donald J

publication date

  • April 2016