Bio-Based Sustainable Polymers and Materials: From Processing to Biodegradation

Obinna Okolie, Anuj Kumar, Christine Edwards, Linda A. Lawton, Adekunle Oke, Seonaidh McDonald, Vijay Kumar Thakur, James Njuguna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
102 Downloads (Pure)


In the life cycle of a material, there will be either chemical or physical change due to varying environmental factors such as biological activity, light, heat, moisture, and chemical conditions. This process leads to polymer property change as pertains to functional deterioration because of the physical, biological, and chemical reactions that result in chemical transformations and bond scission and thus can be regarded as polymer degradation. Due to the present demand for sustainable polymers, bio-based polymers have been identified as a solution. There is therefore a need to compare the sustainability impacts of bio-based polymers, to maximize their use in functional use stage and still withhold the bio-degradation capability. This study focuses are poly (lactic acid) (PLA), Poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), and polyamides (PA) as biopolymers of interest due to their potential in technological applications, stability, and biodegradability. For preparing bio-based value-added products, an appropriate selection of the fabrication or functional modification process is a very important factor for particular industrial or biomedical applications. The literature review indicates that in vivo is preferred to in vitro because it suits an overall study of the experiment’s effects on a living subject. This study will explore these features in detail. In particular, the review will cover processing and biodegradation pathways for each of the biopolymers. In addition, thermal degredation and photodegradation are covered, and future trends and conclusions are drawn.
Original languageEnglish
Article number213
JournalJournal of Composites Science
Issue number6
Early online date24 May 2023
Publication statusFirst published - 24 May 2023


  • bio-based polymers
  • biodegradation
  • environment
  • photodegradation
  • polymerization
  • thermal degradation


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