The first successful chemical synthesis of cellulose was achieved by a polycondensation of β-cellobiosyl fluoride monomer catalyzed with cellulase, an extracellular hydrolytic enzyme of cellulose, in a mixed solvent of acetonitrile and acetate buffer. The product, synthetic cellulose, was the crystalline allomorph cellulose II, a thermodynamically more stable form. More detailed examinations of the polymerization conditions led to the formation of the native cellulose I, a metastable allomorph, for the first time. The key to the success was to use partially purified cellulase and an appropriate mixed solvent of acetonitrile/ buffer. The formation of the two allomorphs of cellulose implies that the polarity of the glucan chain ordering can be controlled in a test tube. Based on these findings, a new concept "choroselectivity," meaning spacial control in ordering the macromolecular chain, has been proposed. Cellulose analogues, 6-O-methylated cellulose and xylan, have been synthesized regio- and stereoselectively by using the enzymatic polymerization technique.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Macromolecular Science - Pure and Applied Chemistry|
|Publication status||Published - 1996|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ceramics and Composites
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry