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Biodegradable and Sustainable Materials  

Future plastic materials must originate from sustainable and long-term available resources and use biogenic or existing material flows. For plastic waste that escapes recycling, environmental degradation is the only solution. To address these challenges, the subgroup “Biodegradable and Sustainable Materials” develops stimuli-responsive plastic materials using green chemistry principles. We will improve the sustainability of plastics in two ways: (1) Stimuli-responsive biodegradable materials whose degradation can be triggered by environmental stimuli (e.g. redox, pH, salt and UV). Here the goal is the introduction of new stimuli responsive units into existing polymers that can enable or enhance degradation. (2) Lignin upcycling is a major challenge for biogenic construction and plastic materials. Here, chemoenzymatic lignin cleavage and functionalization play a central role, with the aim of obtaining new monomers/ oligomers/ polymers for biogenic plastic materials.


Sustainable polymers and resin materials from biogenically derived building blocks. The plastic material syntheses will use sustainable building blocks and green polymerization techniques, generating biodegradable or highly stable biogenic materials for service life extension.

Furthermore, a completely biobased resin with lignin as the main component will also be developed. Here, the focus is on functional polyelectrolyte adsorber materials for water purification, e.g. for heavy metal, PFAS and pathogen adsorbers. The resulting resins will further be tested and evaluated with respect to their potential to replace other commercially available resins, for example as construction materials for 3D printing.



  • Schötz et al., Tunable Polyglycerol-Based Redox-Responsive Nanogels for Efficient Cytochrome C Delivery. Pharmaceutics, 2021, 13, 1276
  • F. Zabihi et al., Synthesis of Poly(lactide-co-glycerol) as a Biodegradable and Biocompatible Polymer with High Loading Capacity for Dermal Drug Delivery. Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 16848.
  • K. Achazi, et al., Understanding the interaction of polyelectrolyte architectures with proteins and biosystems. Angew. Chem. 2021, 60, 3882.
  • S. Gholami, et al., Reusable Biopolymer based Heavy Metal Filter as Plant Protection for Phytoremediation. Environ. Technol. Innovation., 2020, 19, 101005.