Biomass is an abundant source of chemically diverse macromolecules, including polysaccharides, polypeptides, and polyaromatics. Many of these biological polymers (biopolymers) are highly evolved for specific functions through optimized chain length, functionalization, and monomer sequence. As biopolymers are a chemical resource, much current effort is focused on the breakdown of these molecules into fuels or platform chemicals. However there is growing interest in using biopolymers directly to create functional materials. This Minireview uses recent examples to show how biopolymers are providing new directions in the synthesis of nanostructured materials.
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