© 2019

Enzymatic Polymerization towards Green Polymer Chemistry

  • Shiro Kobayashi
  • Hiroshi Uyama
  • Jun-ichi Kadokawa


  • Discusses how enzymatic polymerization is desirable for the environment and contributes to green polymer chemistry for the sustainable society

  • Explains the combination of enzyme and monomer from which the enzymatic polymerization proceeds

  • Discloses advantageous points of enzymatic approach on green aspects concerning clean-processes, reaction selectivity, energy savings, natural resource problems, and carbon dioxide emission

  • Deals with recent developments on the enzymatic polymerization and related enzymatic approaches, covering research accomplishments

  • Introduces synthetic methods for polysaccharides, polyesters, polypeptides, poly(aromatic)s, and so on by enzymatic polymerization, as well as enzymatic modification of polymers


Part of the Green Chemistry and Sustainable Technology book series (GCST)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Shiro Kobayashi, Hiroshi Uyama, Jun-ichi Kadokawa
    Pages 1-13
  3. Shin-ichiro Shoda, Masato Noguchi, Gefei Li, Shunsaku Kimura
    Pages 15-46
  4. Katja Loos, Jun-ichi Kadokawa
    Pages 47-87
  5. Satoshi Kimura, Tadahisa Iwata
    Pages 89-104
  6. Ayaka Hiroe, Min Fey Chek, Toshio Hakoshima, Kumar Sudesh, Seiichi Taguchi
    Pages 199-231
  7. Kousuke Tsuchiya, Yu Miyagi, Takaaki Miyamoto, Prashant G. Gudeangadi, Keiji Numata
    Pages 233-265
  8. H. N. Cheng
    Pages 357-385
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 387-389

About this book


This book comprehensively covers researches on enzymatic polymerization and related enzymatic approaches to produce well-defined polymers, which is valuable and promising for conducting green polymer chemistry. It consists of twelve chapters, including the following topics: 
  • The three classes of enzymes, oxidoreductases, transferases and hydrolases, have been employed as catalysts for enzymatic polymerization and modification; 
  • Well-defined polysaccharides are produced by enzymatic polymerization catalyzed by hydrolases and transferases; Hydrolase-catalyzed polycondensation and ring-opening polymerization are disclosed to produce a variety of polyesters;
  • Polyesters are synthesized by in-vivo acyltransferase catalysis produced by microorganisms; 
  • Enzymatic polymerization catalyzed by appropriate enzymes also produces polypeptides and other polymers;
  • Poly(aromatic)s are obtained by enzymatic polymerization catalyzed by oxidoreductases and their model complexes;
  • Such enzymes also induce oxidative polymerization of vinyl monomers; 
  • Enzymatic modification of polymers is achieved to produce functionalized polymeric materials; 
  • The enzymatic polymerization is a green process with non-toxic catalysts, high catalyst efficiency, green solvents and renewable starting materials, and minimal by-products; 
  • Moreover, renewable resources like biomass are potentially employed as a starting substrate, producing useful polymeric materials. 
This book is not only educative to young polymer chemists like graduate students but also suggestive to industrial researchers, showing the importance of the future direction of polymer synthesis for maintaining a sustainable society.


Enzymes Polymerization Biocatalyst Green synthesis Polysaccharides Polyesters Poly(aromatics) Polypeptides Well-defined polymers Well-defined polysaccharides Enzyme-catalyzed polymerization Enzymatic polymer synthesis

Editors and affiliations

  • Shiro Kobayashi
    • 1
  • Hiroshi Uyama
    • 2
  • Jun-ichi Kadokawa
    • 3
  1. 1.Kyoto University, Yoshida-honmachi, Sakyo-kuKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of EngineeringOsaka UniversitySuitaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology, and Chemical Engineering, Graduate School of Science and EngineeringKagoshima UniversityKagoshimaJapan

About the editors

Shiro Kobayashi studied organic chemistry and polymer chemistry in Kyoto University, where he obtained BS, MS, and PhD. He worked as a postdoc with Prof. G. A. Olah at Case Western Reserve University for two years. In 1972, he joined Kyoto University as a research associate to start studying polymer synthesis. He stayed as a Humboldt fellow with Prof. H. Ringsdorf at University of Mainz in 1976. Then, he was appointed as a full professor at Tohoku University in 1986, starting research on enzymatic polymerization. In 1997, he moved to Kyoto University and officially retired in 2005, to become Emeritus Professor. Since then, he has been a distinguished professor at Kyoto Institute of Technology until 2017. His research interests include polymer synthesis and functional polymeric materials. In particular, he developed enzymatic polymerization, which enabled the first chemical synthesis of several polysaccharides like cellulose, xylan, chitin, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin, various functional polyesters, and new aromatics polymers. The method provides much contribution to green polymer chemistry. To date, he has published 195 original research papers on enzymatic polymerization. He received various awards among others: the Award of the Chemical Society of Japan for Young Chemists (1976), the Award of the Society of Polymer Science, Japan (1986), Humboldt Research Award, Germany (1999), the Award of the Chemical Society of Japan (2001), the Hattori Hokokai Foundation Award (2001), the 30th John Stauffer Distinguished Lecture Award in the Sciences, University of Southern California (2002), Medal with Purple Ribbon (2007, Japanese Government), and The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon (2015, Japanese Government). He is a Foreign Member of German Academy of Sciences since 1999, and an American Chemical Society PMSE Fellow (2015). He was a member of Scientific Advisory Board for Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz (2001-09). So far, he has been served as editor, regional editor or honorary editor, and as a member of (executive) advisory board or editorial (advisory) board, for twenty four international journals, and currently he is serving for four journals. He has edited 16 books including “Catalysis in Precision Polymerization” (WILEY, 1997) and “Encyclopedia of Polymeric Nanomaterials” (Springer, S. Kobayashi & K. Muellen co-editors, 2015). He has published approximately 470 original research papers, and around 240 review papers, book chapters, etc. 

Hiroshi Uyama obtained his Master Degree of Engineering from Kyoto University in 1987 and subsequently Doctor Degree of Engineering from Tohoku University in 1991 under the direction of Professor Shiro Kobayashi. In 1987 he joined as an Assistant Professor in Tohoku University, thereafter moved to Kyoto University in 1997 and is presently a Professor in the Department of Applied Chemistry, Osaka University. He is the recipient of several awards and recognitions, including the Young Scientist Award (Chemical Society of Japan) and the Highest Award of Japan Bio-technology Business Competition. His research interests include biomass plastics and nano-processing of polymers. 

Jun-ichi Kadokawa studied applied chemistry and materials chemistry at Tohoku University, where he received his M.S. degree in 1989 and his Ph. D. in 1992 under the supervision of Prof. Shiro Kobayashi. He then joined Yamagata University as a Research Associate. From 1996 to 1997, he worked as a visiting scientist in the research group of Prof. Klaus Müllen at the Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research in Germany. In 1999, he became an Associate Professor at Yamagata University and moved to Tohoku University in 2002. He was appointed as a Professor of Kagoshima University in 2004. His research interests focus on enzymatic synthesis of non-natural polysaccharides, new polysaccharide-based materials, and control of the higher-ordered structures of polysaccharides. He received the Award for Encouragement of Research in Polymer Science (1998) and the Cellulose Society of Japan Award (2010).

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