The relevance of hydrophobic segments in multiblock copolyesterurethanes for their enzymatic degradation at the air-water interface


The interplay of an enzyme with a multiblock copolymer PDLCL containing two segments of different hydrophilicity and degradability is explored in thin films at the air-water interface. The enzymatic degradation was studied in homogenous Langmuir monolayers, which are formed when containing more than 40 wt% oligo(ε-caprolactone) (OCL). Enzymatic degradation rates were significantly reduced with increasing content of hydrophobic oligo(ω-pentadecalactone) (OPDL). The apparent deceleration of the enzymatic process is caused by smaller portion of water-soluble degradation fragments formed from degradable OCL fragments. Beside the film degradation, a second competing process occurs after adding lipase from Pseudomonas cepacia into the subphase, namely the enrichment of the lipase molecules in the polymeric monolayer. The incorporation of the lipase into the Langmuir film is experimentally revealed by concurrent surface area enlargement and by Brewster angle microscopy (BAM). Aside from the ability to provide information about the degradation behavior of polymers, the Langmuir monolayer degradation (LMD) approach enables to investigate polymer-enzyme interactions for non-degradable polymers.
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