Crystalline-structure-dependent enzymatic degradation of polymorphic poly(3-hydroxypropionate).
ABSTRACT The crystalline structure dependence of enzymatic degradation behavior was investigated for the polymorphic poly(3-hydroxypropionate) (P3HP), which has a basic backbone chemical structure of bacterial poly(3-hydroxyalkanoate)s (P3HAs). The P3HP films consisting of the beta-, gamma-, and/or delta-form crystal were cast or melt-crystallized as reported previously (Macromolecules 2005, 38, 6455; Macromolecules 2006, 39, 194-203) by controlling the molecular weight, crystallization temperature, and/or temperature of the melt. Their thermal properties, crystalline structures, morphologies, and (13)C solid spin-lattice relaxation dynamics were characterized by the differential scanning calorimetry, the wide-angle X-ray diffraction, the small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and the (13)C solid-state NMR spectra (SNMR), respectively. Both the crystallinities and the lamellar thicknesses of P3HP films were found to decrease roughly in the order of beta-form > (or approximately) gamma-form > delta-form. From previous work, which indicates that the P3HA enzymatic degradation depends only on the degree of crystallinity and the lamellar thickness, their enzymatic degradation rates are then expected to increase in the order of beta-form < (or approximately) gamma-form < delta-form. Unexpectedly, their experimental P3HP enzymatic degradation rates in the presence of P3HA depolymerase isolated from Ralstonia pickettii T1 increase in the reverse order, i.e., delta-form < gamma-form < beta-form. The weight loss rate of the delta-form film is almost 1 order of magnitude smaller than that of the fastest degraded beta-form film. It is then strongly indicated that the crystalline structure plays a strikingly decisive role in the enzymatic degradation of P3HP. In particular, only when the conformation of crystalline chain accords with that of the bacterial poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (P3HB) sample, i.e., the 2 1 helix conformation, is the P3HP sample degraded as slow as the P3HB sample. The inherent reason responsible for the unique P3HP enzymatic degradation behavior has been further clarified by comparing the molecular interaction and dynamics of polymorphic P3HP crystals.