Polymers from polyphenols
Ubiquitous in the plant kingdom, polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds containing one or more phenol groups, which are well-known for their antioxidant properties. A high dietary intake of polyphenols has been linked to a reduced incidence of a number of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, in vitro and in vivo studies show polyphenols have potential as therapeutic agents with cardioprotective, antimicrobial, anticancer, neuroprotective, and antidiabetic effects demonstrated. Despite their impressive therapeutic effects, polyphenols suffer from a number of drawbacks including instability when exposed to light, heat and basic conditions; poor bioavailability; rapid metabolism; and poor membrane permeability.
By developing new conjugation and polymerisation techniques, we have been able to improve the stability and therapeutic effects of polyphenols, demonstrating antioxidant, anticancer and antimicrobial effects.