Ex situ reconstitution of the plant biopolyester suberin as a film

Helga Garcia, Rui Ferreira, Celso Martins, Andreia F. Sousa, Carmen S R Freire, Armando J D Silvestre, Werner Kunz, Luis Paulo da Silva Nieto Marques Rebelo, Cristina Maria Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Biopolymers often have unique properties of considerable interest as a basis for new materials. It is however not evident how to extract them from plants without destroying their chemical skeleton and inherent properties. Here we report the ex situ reconstitution of the biopolyester suberin as a new waterproof and antimicrobial material. In plant cell walls, suberin, a cross-linked network of aromatic and aliphatic monomers, builds up a hydrophobic protective and antimicrobial barrier. Recently we succeeded in extracting suberin from the plant cell wall using the ionic liquid cholinium hexanoate. During extraction the native three-dimensional structure of suberin was partially preserved. In this study, we demonstrate that this preservation is the key for its ex situ reconstitution. Without any chemical additives or purification, the suberin composing macromolecules undergo self-association on the casting surface forming a film. Suberin films obtained show barrier properties similar to those of the suberin barrier in plants, including a potentially broad bactericidal effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1806-1813
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2014


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