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Pure Appl. Chem., 2012, Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 377-410

Published online 2012-01-11


Terminology for biorelated polymers and applications (IUPAC Recommendations 2012)

Michel Vert1*, Yoshiharu Doi2, Karl-Heinz Hellwich3, Michael Hess4, Philip Hodge5, Przemyslaw Kubisa6, Marguerite Rinaudo7 and François Schué8

1 University Montpellier 1-CNRS, Montpellier, France
2 RIKEN, Saitama, Japan
3 Postfach 10 07 31, Offenbach, Germany
4 Universität Siegen, Siegen, Germany
5 University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
6 Polish Academy of Sciences, Łódz, Poland
7 CERMAV-CNRS, Grenoble, France
8 University Montpellier 2, Montpellier, France

Abstract: Like most of the materials used by humans, polymeric materials are proposed in the literature and occasionally exploited clinically, as such, as devices or as part of devices, by surgeons, dentists, and pharmacists to treat traumata and diseases. Applications have in common the fact that polymers function in contact with animal and human cells, tissues, and/or organs. More recently, people have realized that polymers that are used as plastics in packaging, as colloidal suspension in paints, and under many other forms in the environment, are also in contact with living systems and raise problems related to sustainability, delivery of chemicals or pollutants, and elimination of wastes. These problems are basically comparable to those found in therapy. Last but not least, biotechnology and renewable resources are regarded as attractive sources of polymers. In all cases, water, ions, biopolymers, cells, and tissues are involved. Polymer scientists, therapists, biologists, and ecologists should thus use the same terminology to reflect similar properties, phenomena, and mechanisms. Of particular interest is the domain of the so-called “degradable or biodegradable polymers” that are aimed at providing materials with specific time-limited applications in medicine and in the environment where the respect of living systems, the elimination, and/or the bio-recycling are mandatory, at least ideally.