Poly(phosphoester)s: A New Platform for Degradable Polymers

Tobias Steinbach, Frederik R. Wurm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

184 Citations (Scopus)


Poly(phosphoester)s (PPEs) play an important role in nature. They structure and determine life in the form of deoxy- and ribonucleic acid (DNA and RNA), and, as pyrophosphates, they store up chemical energy in organisms. Polymer chemistry, however, is dominated by the nondegradable polyolefins and degradable poly(carboxylic ester)s (PCEs) that are produced on a large scale today. Recent studies have illustrated the potential of PPEs for future applications beyond flame retardancy, and provided a coherent vision to implement this classic biopolymer in modern applications that demand biocompatibility and degradability as well as the possibility to adjust the properties to individual needs. Polymers with potential: Poly(phosphoester)s play an important role in nature (DNA, RNA, and pyrophosphates), but in contrast to classical polyesters they are rarely used for everyday applications. Recent developments are highlighted that may make phosphorus-based polymers attractive materials for future applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6098-6108
Number of pages11
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • degradable polymers
  • phosphorus
  • poly(phosphoester)s
  • polyesters
  • polymer synthesis


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