Polymers are made by combining tiny molecules or substances into a single big molecule through chemical processes. Monomers are the tiny molecules that are used to make polymers. Polymers derived from natural sources, with or without chemical changes, are known as natural polymers. These polymers are created through the addition or condensation of molecules.
Alfa Chemistry's natural polymer portfolio comprises gelatin, collagen, cellulose, starch, lignin, chitin, and chitosan, as well as a wide spectrum of polysaccharides for biomedical applications.
Fig 1. Various applications of natural polymers.
There are numerous examples of natural polymers. The following is a brief description of a few of them:
- Proteins are the most fundamental sort of natural polymer found in practically all living species, and they're also the most adaptable. A protein is usually a polyamide that occurs naturally. This polymer is made up of amide groups found in the main chain of the body.
- Collagen is a protein and a naturally occurring polymer. It is the connective tissue that makes up human skin. This collagen polymer is also a fiber that helps to maintain the skin soft and smooth by forming an elastic layer beneath it.
- Cellulose is the purest natural cellulose, and it is one of the most prevalent organic substances on the planet. The main component of tree paper and the support substance for leaves and plants is cellulose. It's a polymer produced from glucose monomers, just like straight-chain starch.
- Starch is a condensation product made up of glucose monomers that, when chemically bonded, break down further into water molecules. Starch is a polymer of the monosaccharide glucose that can be found in cereals, grains, and potatoes. The starch molecule is made up of two types of glucose polymers: branched-chain starch and straight-chain starch. These two types of glucose polymers are the major components of starch in most plants.
- Silva A. C. Q, et al. (2022). "Natural Polymers-Based Materials: A Contribution to a Greener Future." Molecules. 27(1): 94.