New group Paper: “RNA-Inspired and Accelerated Degradation of Polylactide in Seawater”

Plastic litter in oceans forms giant garbage patches, which may harm sea life. Biodegradable polymers, such as polylactide (PLA), might be a strategy to reduce plastics in our environment as they can fall apart in harmless substances. However, PLA has so far not fully lived up to its promise, showing little sign of breakdown once in seawater. In a new study in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, we show that RNA-inspired breaking points make polymer degradable in seawater.

Our new group paper at shows a synthetic strategy to prepare a library of polymers that degrades in seawater over a controlled time based on detailed computer simulations.