Paper of the week: Ethanol biosensors based on conducting polymers with peptide and ferrocene on the side chain

The synthesis and characterization of conducting polymers containing polypeptide and ferrocene side chains as ethanol biosensors has been reported by Yagci and Toppare et al.

This paper describes a novel approach for the fabrication of a biosensor from a conducting polymer bearing polypeptide segments and ferrocene moieties. The approach involves the electrochemical copolymerization of the electroactive polypeptide macromonomer and independently prepared ferrocene imidazole derivative of dithiophene, on the electrode surface. The polypeptide macromonomer was synthesized by the simultaneous formation of N-carboxyanhydride (NCA) and ring opening polymerization of N-Boc-L-lysine (α-amino acid of the corresponding NCA) using an amino functional bis-EDOT derivative (BEDOA-6) as an initiator. Alcohol oxidase was then covalently immobilized onto the copolymer coated electrode using glutaraldehyde as the crosslinking agent. The intermediates and final conducting copolymer before and after enzyme immobilization were fully characterized by FT-IR, 1H-NMR, GPC, cyclic voltammetry, SEM and EIS analyses. The newly designed biosensor which combined the advantages of each component was tested as an ethanol sensing system offering fast response time (9 s), wide linear range (0.17 mM and 4.25 mM) and low detection limit (0.28 mM) with a high sensitivity (12.52 μA mM−1 cm−2). Kinetic parameters KappM and Imax were 2.67 mM and 2.98 μA, respectively. The capability of the biosensor in determining ethanol content in alcoholic beverages was also demonstrated.

Synthesis and characterization of conducting polymers containing polypeptide and ferrocene side chains as ethanol biosensors by Melis Kesik, Huseyin Akbulut, Saniye Söylemez, Şevki Can Cevher, Gönül Hızalan, Yasemin Arslan Udum, Takeshi Endo, Shuhei Yamada, Ali Çırpan, Yusuf Yağcı and Levent Toppare Polym. Chem., 2014, 5, 6295-6306.

Remzi Becer is a web-writer and advisory board member for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Materials Science and the director of the Polymer Science and Nanotechnology masters programme at Queen Mary, University of London. Visit www.becergroup.com for more information.

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Author of the Month: Hyung-il Lee

Professor Hyung-il Lee received his BS and MS degrees in Industrial Chemistry from Hanyang University in South Korea in 1998 and 2000, respectively. He received a PhD in Chemistry under the supervision of Professor Kris Matyjaszewski from Carnegie Mellon University in 2007. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of  Technology (2007-2009). He then joined the Department of Chemistry at Ulsan University in South Korea in 2009, and now he is an associate professor of chemistry. His current research interests are focused on the synthesis of stimuli-responsive polymers for sensing and bio-related applications.

Take a look at Professor Lee’s research group website

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

Actually, I never wanted to be a chemist who deals with a million tiny, stinky chemicals. I happened to major in chemistry just like other dreamless boys in college. However, after I knew that polymerization is a wonderful magic which turns useless gases to valuable materials for our life, I lived my life with the synthesis of polymers. I will guide my son to be a theoretical chemist though.

What was the motivation to write your Polymer Chemistry article?

Recently, a great deal of effort has been made to prepare polymers with multiple-responsive components. For example, the LCST of thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)s containing light responsive azobenzene groups in the side or end of the polymer chain was tuned by isomerization of the azobenzene moieties by photoirradiation. Several studies revealed that the biologically important green fluorescent protein (GFP) chromophore undergoes non-irradiative processes, such as E/Z isomerization, upon irradiation with light. With these as an inspiration, we turned to design dual responsive polymers in which thermoresponsive behaviors are further tuned by the E/Z isomerization of benzylidene oxazolone moieties by light irradiation.

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work?

Since my work is related to polymer chemistry, which journal should I publish in except ‘Polymer Chemistry’?

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

I might be attending the Spring 2015 ACS meeting.

How do you spend your spare time?

I spend it babysitting my 2 year old son and 9 month old daughter. If my wife lets me, I love to sleep.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

A professional GO (chess) player.


Read Professor Lee’s latest Polymer Chemistry paper:

New benzylidene oxazolone derived polymeric photoswitches for light-induced tunable thermoresponsive behaviors A. Balamurugan and Hyung-il Lee


Cyrille Boyer is a guest web-writer for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently an associate professor and an ARC-Future Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering, University of New South Wales (Australia) and deputy director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine.


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Paper of the week: Supramolecular polymerization of supramonomers

The synthesis of supramolecular polymers using supramonomers have been reported by Zhang et al.

The paper of the week describes a new method of fabricating supramolecular polymers through supramolecular polymerization of supramonomers. To mix building blocks of Phe-Gly-Gly linked with an azobenzene group and cucurbit[8]uril (CB[8]) in a molar ratio of 2:1 in aqueous solutions, supramonomers were obtained by host–guest interaction between tripeptide and CB[8]. Then supramolecular polymers were formed spontaneously by mixing the supramonomers with bis-β-cyclodextrins in a molar ratio of 1:1 in an aqueous solution through noncovalent host–guest complexation of the azobenzene group and β-cyclodextrin. Considering that various noncovalent interactions can be used to drive the formation of supramonomers and the supramolecular polymerization of the supramonomers, this study can enrich the methodology of fabricating supramolecular polymers.

Supramolecular polymerization of supramonomers: a way for fabricating supramolecular polymers by Qiao Song, Fei Li, Xinxin Tan, Liulin Yang, Zhiqiang Wang and Xi Zhang Polym. Chem. 2014, 5, 5895-5899.

Remzi Becer is a web-writer and advisory board member for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Materials Science and the director of the Polymer Science and Nanotechnology masters programme at Queen Mary, University of London. Visit www.becergroup.com for more information!

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Paper of the week: Zwitterionic poly(2-oxazoline)s for blood-contacting applications

The synthesis of highly hemo- and cytocompatible zwitterionic 2-oxazoline-based poly(sulfobetaine)s and poly(carboxybetaine)s, which demonstrate beneficial anticoagulant activity, has been reported by Schubert et al.

The polymers were obtained by thiol–ene photoaddition of a tertiary amine-containing thiol onto an alkene-containing precursor copoly(2-oxazoline), followed by betainization with 1,3-propansultone and β-propiolactone. The polymers and their intermediates were characterized by means of 1H NMR spectroscopy and size exclusion chromatography. The influence of the zwitterionic polymers on the aggregation and hemolysis of erythrocytes, the whole blood viscosity, the platelet and complement activation as well as the blood coagulation has been studied in detail. In addition, the cytotoxicity of the materials has been evaluated.

It was found that the zwitterionic POx show no negative interactions with blood. Moreover, anticoagulant activity via the intrinsic and/or the common coagulation pathway was observed. The high hemocompatibility and the low cytotoxicity as well as the beneficial anticoagulant activity of the presented zwitterionic poly(2-oxazoline)s demonstrate their potential for the use in biomedical applications.

Zwitterionic poly(2-oxazoline)s as promising candidates for blood contacting applications by Lutz Tauhardt, David Pretzel, Kristian Kempe, Michael Gottschaldt, Dirk Pohlers and  Ulrich S. Schubert Polym. Chem. 2014, 5, 5751-5764.

Remzi Becer is a web-writer and advisory board member for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Materials Science and the director of the Polymer Science and Nanotechnology masters programme at Queen Mary, University of London. Visit www.becergroup.com for more information!

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Author of the Month: Guocan Yu

Guocan Yu was born in Zhejiang, China in 1987. He received his BS degree in polymer materials and engineering from Hefei University of Technology in 2010. Then he joined the laboratory of Professor Feihe Huang at Zhejiang University to pursue his PhD degree in chemistry. From 2013, he was selected as a subgroup leader in Professor Huang’s group. His current research interests are focused on the construction of functional supramolecular amphiphiles, controllable self-assembly based on pillararenes, and their biologically relevant applications. Research Group Website

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

When I was a middle school student, I was interested in Chemistry. I wanted to figure out the reasons behind chemical phenomena. Therefore, I chose chemistry as my major when I was in University. I like chemistry, and I can get a lot of joy from my work everyday.

What was the motivation to write your Polymer Chemistry article?

In our research group, we are interested in the fabrication of supramolecular polymers with interesting functions on the basis of host–guest recognitions. In this manuscript, we found that the linear supramolecular polymer exhibited pH- and photo- responsiveness. On the other hand, we constructed a photo-responsive supramolecular network based on the same recognition motif. We thought this manuscript was suitable for Polymer Chemistry.

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work? (DOI: 10.1039/C4PY01042F )

Polymer Chemistry is a high-level journal in the field of polymer science, and the papers published in this journal are always high-quality. As well, the reviewing and publishing process are very fast.

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

The 4th International Conference on Molecular Sensors and Molecular Logic Gates (MSMLG), November 9-12, 2014, Shanghai, China.

How do you spend your spare time?

In my spare time, I like reading chemical or biological literature, because I want to become a knowledgeable person like my boss. Sometimes, I play basketball with my groupmates.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

Maybe I would be a carpenter, because my father is a carpenter.  He can make a series of nice furniture, he is my idol.


Read Guocan Yu’s latest Polymer Chemistry paper:

Construction of a pillar[5]arene-based linear supramolecular polymer and a photo-responsive supramolecular network

Jie Yang, Zhengtao Li, Yujuan Zhou and Guocan Yu

Polym. Chem., 2014, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C4PY01042F



Cyrille Boyer is a guest web-writer for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently an associate professor and an ARC-Future Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering, University of New South Wales (Australia) and deputy director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine.

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Top 10 most-read Polymer Chemistry articles – Q2 2014

This month sees the following articles in Polymer Chemistry that are in the top 10 most accessed from April – June:

Thiol-ene “click” reactions and recent applications in polymer and materials synthesis 
Andrew B. Lowe 
Polym. Chem., 2010,1, 17-36 
DOI: 10.1039/B9PY00216B 

Polymerization-Induced Self-Assembly (PISA) – Control Over the Morphology of Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery Applications 
Bunyamin Karagoz, Lars Esser, Hien T. Duong, Johan S. Basuki, Cyrille Boyer and Thomas P. Davis 
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 350-355 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01306E 

Short Peptide Based Self-Assembled Nanostructures: Implication In Drug Delivery And Tissue Engineering 
Jiban Jyoti Panda and Virander Singh Chauhan    
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 4418-4436 
DOI: 10.1039/C4PY00173G 

Investigation into thiol-(meth)acrylate Michael addition reactions using amine and phosphine catalysts 
Guang-Zhao Li, Rajan K. Randev, Alexander H. Soeriyadi, Gregory Rees, Cyrille Boyer, Zhen Tong, Thomas P. Davis, C. Remzi Becer and David M. Haddleton 
Polym. Chem., 2010,1, 1196-1204 
DOI: 10.1039/C0PY00100G 

The Power of Light in Polymer Science: Photochemical Processes to Manipulate Polymer Formation, Structure, and Properties 
Shunsuke Chatani, Christopher J. Kloxin and Christopher N. Bowman    
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 2187-2201 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01334K 

Bringing D-Limonene to the Scene of Bio-Based Thermoset Coatings via Free-Radical Thiol–Ene Chemistry: Macromonomer Synthesis, UV-Curing and Thermo–Mechanical Characterization 
Mauro Claudino, Jeanne-Marie Mathevet, Mats Jonsson and Mats Johansson    
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 3245-3260 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01302B 

The quest for sustainable polyesters – insights into the future 
Carla Vilela, Andreia F. Sousa, Ana C. Fonseca, Arménio C. Serra, Jorge F. J. Coelho, Carmen S. R. Freire and Armando J. D. Silvestre    
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 3119-3141 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01213A 

Phenylboronic Acid-based Glucose-responsive Polymeric Nanoparticles: Synthesis and Applications in Drug Delivery 
Rujiang Ma and Linqi Shi 
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 1503-1518 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01202F 

Oxidant-induced dopamine polymerization for multifunctional coatings 
Qiang Wei, Fulong Zhang, Jie Li, Beijia Li and Changsheng Zhao 
Polym. Chem., 2010,1, 1430-1433 
DOI: 10.1039/C0PY00215A 

Benzotrithiophene and benzodithiophene-based polymers for efficient polymer solar cells with high open-circuit voltage 
Guobing Zhang, Jianyu Yuan, Peng Li, Jingxuan Ma, Hongbo Lu, Longzhen Qiu and Wanli Ma  
Polym. Chem., 2013,4, 3390-3397 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY00251A 

Why not take a look at the articles today and blog your thoughts and comments below.

Fancy submitting an article to Polymer Chemistry? Then why not submit to us today!

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Paper of the week: Photoswitchable nanocomposites

‘Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) have gained significant attention in the past two decades, mainly due to their high axis-modulus, reinforcing ability in various polymer matrices, vast availability in a diverse range of natural sources such as cotton, wheat straw, wood, sisal, banana stems, ramie, tunicates, bacteria and ease of isolation via acid or enzymatic hydrolysis, and ultrasonic treatment. One of the interesting features of CNCs is that the hydroxyl groups on the surface can serve as a handle to impart CNC/polymer nanocomposites with water-responsive mechanically adaptive characteristics.’

Graphical abstract: Photoswitchable nanocomposites made from coumarin-functionalized cellulose nanocrystals

Exploiting the coumarin dimerization mechanism upon UV irradiation at 365 nm, Foster and co-workers developed mechanically adaptive nanocomposites in which light can be used to change the materials properties. CNCs derived from tunicates were functionalized with 7-coumaryl-(6-isocyanatohexyl) carbamate to afford coumarin-derivatized CNCs (Cou-CNCs). Light-responsive nanocomposites were prepared by reinforcing a rubbery ethylene oxide–epichlorohydrin copolymer (EO–EPI) matrix with Cou-CNCs. The as-prepared nanocomposites show a significantly increased tensile storage modulus (E′) in comparison to the neat EO–EPI. The optically induced reaction between Cou-CNCs also reduced the swelling of the EO–EPI/Cou-CNC nanocomposites upon exposure to water as well as the extent of water-induced softening.

Photoswitchable nanocomposites made from coumarin-functionalized cellulose nanocrystals by Mahesh V. Biyani, Christoph Weder and E. Johan Foster Polym. Chem. 2014, 5, 5501-5508.

Julien Nicolas is a web-writer and advisory board member for Polymer Chemistry. He currently works at Univ. Paris-Sud (FR) as a CNRS researcher.

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Poster Prize winner at RAPS 2014

Congratulations to Robert Deller, who was awarded the Polymer Chemistry prize for best poster at last week’s Recent Appointees in Polymer Science (RAPS) 2014 meeting.

Robert Deller (right) receives the Polymer Chemistry prize for best poster from RAPS committee chair Chris Holland

The winning poster, titled ‘Cryopreservation of cells using peptidomimetic macromolecules’, was based on Robert’s PhD project, which he recently completed at the University of Warwick under the supervision of Matthew Gibson, a former RAPS committee member. Robert’s research into cell cryopreservation led to publications in Biomaterials Science and Nature Communications - click on the link below to read the former:

Robert will soon be moving to the University of Bristol to take on a postdoc position in Adam Perriman’s research group.

RAPS 2014, which took place on 3rd-5th September at the University of Reading, was the 15th annual meeting organised by Recent Appointees in Polymer Science- a group set up to help polymer science researchers just starting out in their careers to forge links and networks for the future. This year’s meeting featured a diverse array of talks from early career researchers working in a variety of polymer-related fields, as well as talks from more established members of the polymer community eager to share advice and lessons learnt from their own careers.

For more information on RAPS- including how to join (for free!)- take a look at the RAPS website.

RAPS 2014
Delegates at RAPS 2014

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Paper of the week: White light emission of multi-chromophore photoluminescent nanoparticles

‘Fluorescence is a powerful tool in a variety of applications, ranging from optical to analytical materials (detection of small molecules and protein studies) because of its exquisite sensitivity, cost-effectiveness, facile operation, and superb spatial and temporal resolutions. Fluorescent organic nanoparticles derived from conjugated polymers have attracted significant interest due to their variable optical, electronic, and other properties such as facile preparation and functionalization. Among conjugated polymers used in organic nanoparticles, polyfluorene (PF) and its derivatives are considered to be of special interest because of their thermal/chemical stability, high fluorescence quantum yield and significant charge carrier mobility.’

Graphical abstract: White light emission of multi-chromophore photoluminescent nanoparticles using polyacrylate scaffold copolymers with pendent polyfluorene groups

In this work, Ling, Hogen-Esch and co-workers reported a styrene-type macromonomer containing polyfluorene pendent group (PFS), which allowed the convenient synthesis of well-defined copolymers of PFS with t-butyl acrylate by both RAFT and ATRP polymerization methods. After hydrolysis, the amphiphilic copolymers self-assembled into photoluminescent nanoparticles in aqueous solution. When doped with selected dyes, the nanoparticles emitted light with tunable colors as well as white via Förster energy transfer from the excited pendent polyfluorene groups.

White light emission of multi-chromophore photoluminescent nanoparticles using polyacrylate scaffold copolymers with pendent polyfluorene groups by Chao Deng, Peng Jiang, Xiaobin Shen, Jun Ling and Thieo E. Hogen-Esch, Polym. Chem. 2014, 5, 5109-5115.

Julien Nicolas is a web-writer and advisory board member for Polymer Chemistry. He currently works at Univ. Paris-Sud (FR) as a CNRS researcher.

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Author of the Month: Dr. Marlène Lejars

Dr Marlene Lejars graduated in 2009 from the National School of Chemistry, Biology and Physics (ENSCBP) of Bordeaux, France, and received a Master degree in Chemistry (Polymers and Colloids) from Bordeaux University. She obtained her PhD degree in 2012 at the University of Toulon, France (MAPIEM laboratory, A. Margaillan and C. Bressy as supervisors), working on the synthesis of new polymer binders by the RAFT polymerization for FRC/SPC hybrid antifouling coatings. Following her PhD, she continued her research work at MAPIEM with an expertise in polymer synthesis and characterization, paint formulation, and evaluation of antifouling performances. She is involved in research projects dealing with electro-active antifouling coatings, as well as antifouling coatings for drag reduction (DRACONS project 2013-2017). She is reviewer for journals in the field of polymers including Polymer Chemistry and Journal of Applied Polymer Science. She is also involved in quality and safety management at MAPIEM laboratory.

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

During high school, my Chemistry teacher put me forward to compete in a French competition, called “The Olympiads of Chemistry”. This was the opportunity for me to discover several aspects of Chemistry in more detail through theoretical courses and practical experimentation. I won the first award of the competition organized in Bordeaux. Thanks to this competition, I discovered that Chemistry was a fascinating world and I decided that I would become a chemist.


What was the motivation to write your Polymer Chemistry article?

The MAPIEM laboratory is specialized on the fouling issue especially on ships hulls, and the development of antifouling coatings. There are two main types on the market: (i) Self-Polishing Coatings (SPC) based on hydrolyzable polymers which release toxic biocides into the environment, and (ii) Fouling Release Coatings which are non-adhesive poly(dimethylsiloxane) matrix coatings with no biocide. We decided to synthesize new antifouling binders by mixing both technologies through the synthesis of copolymers based on tri-alkylsilyl methacrylates (used in SPC binders) and poly(dimethylsiloxane) (used in FRC binders). The RAFT process was used to control the architecture and molecular weights of polymers. We found that the diblock copolymers exhibited much lower surface energies than the statistical copolymers.


Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work? (DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01603J)

Polymer Chemistry is a leading journal in the field of polymer science with high quality published papers. The reviewing and publishing process is very fast.


In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

Our laboratory will organize the 18th International Congress of Marine Fouling and Corrosion (ICMCF) in Toulon, France (June 19-23, 2016).


How do you spend your spare time?

I spend my spare time doing sport such as swimming, hiking and rollerblading, but also cooking or going to the cinema. I like travelling abroad to discover new cultures, cuisines and ways of life.


Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

I would probably be a primary school teacher or a pastry chef as I love to prepare cakes, especially the delicious “canelés” from Bordeaux!


Graphical abstract: Synthesis and characterization of diblock and statistical copolymers based on hydrolyzable siloxy silylester methacrylate monomersRead Dr Lejars’ latest Polymer Chemistry paper:

Synthesis and characterization of diblock and statistical copolymers based on hydrolyzable siloxy silylester methacrylate monomers
Marlène Lejars, André Margaillan and Christine Bressy
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 2109-2117 DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01603J


Cyrille Boyer is a guest web-writer for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently an associate professor and an ARC-Future Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering, University of New South Wales (Australia) and deputy director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine.

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