Submitted to: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2005
Publication Date: 1/25/2005
Citation: Finkenstadt, V.L. 2005. Natural polysaccharides as electroactive polymers. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 67:735-745. Interpretive Summary: Electroactive polymers are a new class of materials. Plastics were long thought insulative, but have now been shown to conduct electrical charge. This review examines the state of the art in electroactive biopolymers - conductive plastics composed of natural polymers from renewable resources. This work demonstrates the feasibility of using biopolymers from agricultural commodities to replace synthetic polymers produced from petroleum-based feedstocks.
Technical Abstract: Electroactive polymers (EAPs), a new class of materials, have the potential to be used for applications like biosensors, environmentally sensitive membranes, artificial muscles, actuators, corrosion protection, electronic shielding, visual displays, solar materials and components in high energy batteries. The commercialization of EAPs, however, has so far been severely limited. Biological polymers offer a degree of functionality not available in most synthetic EAPs. Carbohydrate polymers are produced with great frequency in nature. Starch, cellulose, and chitin are some of the most abundant natural polymers on earth. Biopolymers are a renewable resource and have a wide range of uses in nature and function as energy storage, transport, signaling, and structural components. In general, electroactive materials with polysaccharide matrices reach conductance levels comparable with synthetic ion-conducting EAPs. This review reports on the current progress in incorporating polysaccharides as matrices for electroactive materials.