The β-cyclodextrin derivatization with short oligoester chains, through convenient synthesis methods, leads to highly water-soluble and biodegradable compounds. Cyclodextrins have previously been proven to be active in the catalysis of cyclic ester ring-opening reactions, hypothetically in a similar way to lipase-catalyzed reactions. However, the way they act remains unclear. Our work focuses on β-cyclodextrin’s involvement in the synthesis and on the characterization of β-cyclodextrin-oligocaprolactone (CDCL) products obtained via the organo-catalyzed ring-opening of ε-caprolactone. Previously, bulk or supercritical carbon dioxide polymerizations has led to inhomogeneous products. Our approach consists of solution polymerization (dimethyl sulfoxide and dimethylformamide) to obtain homogeneous CDCL derivatives with four monomer units on average. Oligomerization kinetics, performed by a matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI MS) optimized method in tandem with 1H NMR, revealed that monomer conversion occurs in two stages: first, the monomer is rapidly attached to the secondary OH groups of β-cyclodextrin and, secondly, the monomer conversion is slower, with attachment to the primary OH groups. MALDI MS was further employed for the measurement of the ring-opening kinetics to establish the influence of the solvents as well as the effect of organocatalysts (4-dimethylaminopyridine and (–)-sparteine). Additionally, the mass spectrometry structural evaluation was further enhanced by fragmentation studies which confirmed the attachment of oligoesters to the cyclodextrin and the cleavage of dimethylformamide amide bonds during the ring-opening process.
Peptu, C.; Blaj, D.-A.; Balan-Porcarasu, M.; Rydz, J. Cyclodextrin-Oligocaprolactone Derivatives—Synthesis and Advanced Structural Characterization by MALDI Mass Spectrometry. Polymers 2022, 14, 1436. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14071436