Polylactide (PLA), also the polylactic acid, is the biodegradable hydrolyzable aliphatic semicrystalline polyester that can be produced through the direct condensation reaction of its monomer, lactic acid, as the oligomer, and also by a ring-opening polymerization of the cyclic lactide dimer.

Is Polylactic Acid Natural?

PLA is a biodegradable, biocompatible, and renewable thermoplastic polyester. The monomer lactic acid (LA) of PLA is derived from natural sources, which is produced using bacterial fermentation of corn, sugarcane, potatoes, sugar beet pulp, and other biomass.

What Are the Characteristics of Polylactide?

PLA is a very useful material to be used as a replacement for petroleum-based polymers because of its good mechanical properties and good processability. It can be readily fabricated with good biocompatibility and thermal plasticity. Compared to other biodegradable polyesters, PLA is the highest potential biopolymer due to its abundant availability and low cost.

What Is Polylactide Used for?

Polylactide has many common applications. It is currently being used in packaging films, containers, food service wares, and bottles with short shelf life. PLA is also a promising biopolymer for various applications in the biomedical field. For instance, PLA has also been used for the production of bioresource-based implants and devices. PLA and its copolymers have been used in various biomedical applications including sutures, screws, and scaffolds. In addition, PLA copolymers have also been used as a drug carrier medium. It is also widely used as a 3D printing raw material for desktop melting filament manufacturing 3D printers. It is very popular in 3D printing because it can be easily sanded, painted or post-processed.

Polylactide Used for Drug Delivery?

Investigations on PLA applications as drug delivery systems have shown improved therapeutic effect, prolonged biological activity, controlled release rate, and decreased administration frequency. This very important area of applications has been a subject of numerous scientific reviews. Drug delivery vehicles and low-strength scaffolds for tissue regeneration based on PLA have accordingly been developed. The amorphous PLA has been used in this case as it loses strength within 1–2 month(s) and undergoes mass loss within only 12–16 months.

How to Synthesize Polylactide?

It can be synthesized via two common pathways: either through ring-opening polymerization of the cyclic lactide diester monomers or via direct condensation of lactic acid monomers.

Is Polylactic acid FDA Approved?

Polylactic acid-glycolic acid is a polymer approved by the FDA for drug delivery because of its biodegradability, drug biocompatibility, suitable biodegradation kinetics and mechanical properties, and ease of processing.


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Author's Bio: 

CD Bioparticles is an established drug delivery company which provides customized solutions for developing and producing new, biocompatible drug delivery systems.