Zirconium amine tris(phenolate): A more effective initiator for biomedical lactide

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Here a zirconium amine tris(phenolate) is used as the initiator for the production of polylactide for biomedical applications, as a replacement for a tin initiator (usually tin octanoate). The ring opening polymerization (ROP) was carried out in the melt at 130°C. The zirconium-catalyzed PLA (PLA-Zr) required 30min, resulting in a polydispersity index (PDI) of 1.17, compared to 1h and PDI=1.77 for tin-catalyzed PLA (PLA-Sn). PLA-Zr and PLA-Sn supported osteosarcoma cell (MG63) culture to the same extent (cell number, morphology, extracellular matrix production and osteogenic function) until day 14 when the PLA-Zr showed increased cell number, overall extracellular matrix production and osteogenic function. To conclude, the reduction in reaction time, controllable microstructure and biologically benign nature of the zirconium amine tris(phenolate) initiator shows that it is a more effective initiator for ROP of polylactide for biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
Journal Materials Science and Engineering C - Biomimetics Materials Sensors and Systems
Early online date29 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Amines
  • Dioxanes
  • Polyesters
  • Polymerization
  • Zirconium/chemistry


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