Green polymer chemistry is a very active area of research that has attracted the attention of the scientific community and the public at large. Developments in this area are stimulated by health and environmental concerns, interest in sustainability, desire to decrease the dependence on petroleum, and opportunity to design and produce "green" products and processes. A large number of publications have appeared, and many new methodologies have been reported. In consideration of the rapid advances in this area, the editors organized an international symposium on "Green Polymer Chemistry: Biocatalysis and Biobased Materials" at the American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting in Philadelphia, PA in August 2012. The symposium was very successful, with a total of 63 papers and active participation and discussions among the leading researchers. Whereas all aspects of Green Polymer Chemistry were covered, a particular emphasis was placed on biocatalysis and biobased materials. Biocatalysis involves the use of enzymes, microbes, and higher organisms to carry out chemical reactions.
It provides exciting opportunities to manipulate polymer structures, to discover new reaction pathways, and to devise environmentally friendly processes. It also benefits from innovations in biotechnology which enables cheaper and improved enzymes to be made and customized polymeric materials to be produced in vivo using metabolic engineering. Biobased materials also represent an equally exciting opportunity that has found many industrial and medical applications. There is commonality with biocatalysis because many biobased products are biodegradable, where enzymes and/or microbes are involved. This book was compiled and edited in view of the success of the Philadelphia symposium, and the fact that this field is multidisciplinary where publications tend to be spread out over journals in different disciplines.