Novel unsaturated esters of sucrose were synthesised directly and in good yields from sucrose using a simple, mild, and selective Mitsunobu procedure. These regioisomerically pure vinyl sugars have been copolymerised with styrene by a free radical process, yielding unbranched linear polymer materials with pendant sucrose moieties. Their physical properties indicate that these polymers have potential technological relevance as amphiphilic and biodegradable materials. Biodegradation tests on the copolymer samples by a fungal (Aspergillus niger) culture method showed a fungal growth >= 60%, indicating good biodegradability and that the copolymers were partiallybio-assimilated during microbial attack. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.