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Polymer International 47 (1998) 245
Environmentally Compatible
Polymer Architectures
from Saccharides, Lignin
and Proteins
With the technical developments of the 21st century in our sight, the
demand for various materials is increasing day by day. In response to this
demand, various types of polymeric materials such as highly-functional and
high-performance polymers and composites are being developed. Nowadays,
scientiÐc developments which create harmony between men and the
environment are strongly desired. Many advanced synthetic polymeric
materials are believed to cause ecological problems. Accordingly, the importance of developing new polymer systems to create a balance among the
global environment, resources and energy is currently being stressed.
Plant and animal resources are the most abundant organic materials on
the earth. Plants and animals consist of the following three main components : polysaccharides such as cellulose, hemicellulose and starch, polyphenols such as lignin, and proteins such as collagen. These natural polymers
and their components are fundamentally biodegradable and also renewable.
They can be introduced into the cycle of natural resources ; that is, they are
biodegraded by micro-organisms in soil and transformed into soil. Plants
can then grow in the resulting soil. Therefore, it is considered that one of the
most e†ective approaches for obtaining environmentally compatible polymers will be the utilization of the above natural polymers and their components as raw materials. The progress in the above area has been rapid and
the interest in these areas is considerable.
It is against this background that we have compiled this special topic
issue of Polymer International devoted to “Environmentally Compatible New
Polymer Architectures from Saccharides, Lignin and ProteinsÏ. We are very
pleased to include invited contributions from some established and wellknown research groups. These contributions will provide insights into one of
the most rapidly expanding areas of polymer science.
Hyoe Hatakeyama
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Physics and Chemistry
Faculty of T echnology
Fukui University of T echnology, Fukui, Japan
Shigeo Hirose
Guest Editor
National Institute of Materials and Chemical Research
T sukuba, Japan
( 1998 Society of Chemical Industry. Polymer International 0959È8103/98/$17.50
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