Amino Acids

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Non-isocyanate urethane linkage formation using l-lysine residues as amine sources

  • Cláudia Peixoto
  • Ana M. S. SoaresEmail author
  • Andreia Araújo
  • Bradley D. Olsen
  • Ana V. Machado
Original Article


Bio-based polyurethane materials are broadly applied in medicine as drug delivery systems. Nevertheless, their synthesis comprises the use of petroleum-based toxic amines, isocyanates and polyols, and their biocompatibility or functionalization is limited. Therefore, the use of lysine residues as amine sources to create non-isocyanate urethane (NIU) linkages was investigated. Therefore, a five-membered biscyclic carbonate (BCC) was firstly synthetized and reacted with a protected lysine, a tripeptide and a heptapeptide to confirm the urethane linkage formation with lysine moiety and to optimize reaction conditions. Afterwards, the reactions between BCC and a model protein, elastin-like protein (ELP), and β-Lactoglobulin (BLG) obtained from whey protein, respectively, were performed. The synthesized protein materials were structural, thermally and morphologically characterized to confirm the urethane linkage formation. The results demonstrate that using both simple and more complex source of amines (lysine), urethane linkages were effectively achieved. This pioneering approach opens the possibility of using proteins to develop non-isocyanate polyurethanes (NIPUs) with tailored properties.


l-Lysine Peptides Proteins ELP β-Lactoglobulin Cyclic carbonate 



TSSIPRO—Technologies For Sustainable And Smart Innovative Products, NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000015 and COMPETE 2020 Programme and National Funds through FCT—Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology under the project UID/CTM/50025/2013. The authors would like to thank Professor Sílvia Lima and Professor Susana Costa from the Chemistry Department at the University of Minho for kindly allow the use of Microwave CEM Discover SPS equipment and for all knowledge shared during this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This research did not involve human participants or animals.

Informed consent


Supplementary material

726_2019_2770_MOESM1_ESM.docx (160 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 159 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Polymers and Composites/I3NUniversity of MinhoGuimarãesPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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