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Chemical Modifi cation of Microbial Poly(γ-glutamic acid): Progress and Perspectives

Sebastián Muñoz-Guerra*, Montserrat García-Alvarez, José A. Portilla-Arias
Department of Chemical Engineering, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, ETSEIB, Diagonal 647, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
* Corresponding Author:

Journal of Renewable Materials 2013, 1(1), 42-60.

Received 02 October 2012; Accepted 03 November 2012;


Poly(γ-glutamic acid) (PGGA) is an edible polypeptide excreted by certain bacteria that is presently accessible on a semi-industrial scale. Chemically, it is a nylon 4 derivative bearing a carboxylic side group attached to the fourth carbon of the repeating unit. Although this biopolymer is being exploited in the food, agriculture and cosmetic sectors, its use in massive applications as packaging or coating is still unknown mainly due to its instability in wet environments and unsuitability to be processed by common techniques. Chemical modifi cation of PGGA involving esterifi cation or amidation of the carboxylic group is the approach explored the most to obtain materials with potential interest as fi bers, fi lms or hydrogels. Electrostatic coupling of PGGA with hydrophobic cationic species may also be profi ted to generate non-water-soluble stable derivatives. On the other hand, the interest of modifi ed PGGA as a functionalized biomaterial for scaffold and drug delivery has increased incredibly in the last years. This paper summarizes the progress in the methodology available for synthesizing PGGA derivatives, the relevant features of the new materials that are synthesized, and the most outstanding advances achieved in the biomedical fi eld when modifi ed PGGA is used.


Microbial poly(glutamic acid), poly(gamma glutamic acid), polyglutamates

Cite This Article

Muñoz-Guerra, S., García-Alvarez, M., Portilla-Arias, J. A. (2013). Chemical Modifi cation of Microbial Poly(γ-glutamic acid): Progress and Perspectives. Journal of Renewable Materials, 1(1), 42–60.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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