Joining Two Natural Motifs: Catechol-Containing Poly(phosphoester)s

Greta Becker, Lisa Maria Ackermann, Eugen Schechtel, Markus Klapper, Wolfgang Tremel, Frederik R. Wurm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Numerous catechol-containing polymers, including biodegradable polymers, are currently heavily discussed for modern biomaterials. However, there is no report combining poly(phosphoester)s (PPEs) with catechols. Adhesive PPEs have been prepared via acyclic diene metathesis polymerization. A novel acetal-protected catechol phosphate monomer was homo- and copolymerized with phosphoester comonomers with molecular weights up to 42000 g/mol. Quantitative release of the catechols was achieved by careful hydrolysis of the acetal groups without backbone degradation. Degradation of the PPEs under basic conditions revealed complete and statistical degradation of the phosphotri- to phosphodiesters. In addition, a phosphodiester monomer with an adhesive P-OH group and no protective group chemistry was used to compare the binding to metal oxides with the multicatechol-PPEs. All PPEs can stabilize magnetite particles (NPs) in polar solvents, for example, methanol, due to the binding of the phosphoester groups in the backbone to the particles. ITC measurements reveal that multicatechol PPEs exhibit a higher binding affinity to magnetite NPs compared to PPEs bearing phosphodi- or phosphotriesters as repeating units. In addition, the catechol-containing PPEs were used to generate organo- and hydrogels by oxidative cross-linking, due to cohesive properties of catechol groups. This unique combination of two natural adhesive motives, catechols and phosphates, will allow the design of novel future gels for tissue engineering applications or novel degradable adhesives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-777
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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