Quantification of Structure-Property Relationships for Plant Polyesters Reveals Suberin and Cutin Idiosyncrasies

Artur Bento, Carlos J.S. Moreira, Vanessa G. Correia, Rita Escórcio, Rúben Rodrigues, Ana S. Tomé, Nathalie Geneix, Johann Petit, Bénédicte Bakan, Christophe Rothan, Oleksandr O. Mykhaylyk, Cristina Silva Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Polyesters, as they exist in planta, are promising materials with which to begin the development of "green"replacements. Cutin and suberin, polyesters found ubiquitously in plants, are prime candidates. Samples enriched for plant polyesters, and in which their native backbones were largely preserved, were studied to identify "natural"structural features; features that influence critical physical properties. Quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and X-ray scattering methods were used to quantify structure-property relationships in these polymeric materials. The degree of esterification, namely, the presence of acylglycerol linkages in suberin and of secondary esters in cutin, and the existence of mid-chain epoxide groups defining the packing of the aliphatic chains were observed. This packing determines polymer crystallinity, the resulting crystal structure, and the melting temperature. To evaluate the strength of this rule, tomato cutin from the same genotype, studying wild-type plants and two well-characterized mutants, was analyzed. The results show that cutin's material properties are influenced by the amount of unbound aliphatic hydroxyl groups and by the length of the aliphatic chain. Collectively, the acquired data can be used as a tool to guide the selection of plant polyesters with precise structural features, and hence physicochemical properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15780-15792
Number of pages13
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2021


  • biopolymers
  • crystallinity
  • ionic liquids
  • plant industrial residues
  • quantitative NMR
  • thermal resistance


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