Enzymatic Synthesis of Polymers: A Review
Hayes, D. G.  2018.  American Oil Chemistsí Society Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, 6-9 May 2018.  (invited)

Hydrolases, particularly lipases, have been proven to be useful enzymes in oleochemistry, including the ability to form polyesters from multifunctional fatty acids and alcohols. The first papers came out in this area in the late 1980s. The research field has continued to expand, to take advantage of newer solvent systems such as ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents to enhance miscibility, and newer multifunctional molecules such as phenolics (e.g., caffeic acid and cardanol), amino acids, functionalized fatty acids (e.g., via reactions across double bonds and metathesis), polyols, biodiesel co-products (e.g., glycerol carbonate and polyglycerol) and carbohydrates. In addition, the ability to add polymerizable groups to oleochemical synthons, such as the vinyl or acrylate group, via biocatalysis provides a broad platform for chemical synthesis of the modified monomeric units. Recent studies of enzymatic or chemo-enzymatic synthesis of polymers will be reviewed, with applications in lubrication, materials, foods, nanotechnology and other areas.