Cork and suberins: major sources, properties, applications


The main purpose of this chapter is to discuss the potential of suberin (an aromatic–aliphatic crosslinked polyester widespread in the plant kingdom) as a renewable source of chemicals and, in particular, of macromonomers. Despite being widespread in plants, only two species produce suberin-rich biomass residues in amounts that justify their exploitation as renewable sources of chemicals and monomers, namely Quercus suber with cork and Betula pendula (birch) with its outer bark. Quercus suber cork is a material with unique properties and applications, whereas to the best of our knowledge, the outer bark of birch finds no direct applications. Hence, this chapter first provides a general overview of the properties and applications of cork, as well as of its utilization as a starting material for the synthesis of liquid polyols, before dealing with the macromolecular structure of suberin (the major cork component), its depolymerization methods, and the composition and applications of the ensuing fragment mixtures.


Neto CP, Silvestre AJD, Gandini A

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