Nylon-6 is a polymer of 5-amino caproic acid (although it is generally prepared by hydrolysis of caprolactam) and Nylon-2-Nylon-6 is a copolymer of glycine and 5-amino caproic acid.

While Nylon-2-Nylon-6 is biodegradable, Nylon-6 is not. How much difference does the introduction of glycine in the chain of Nylon-6 brings? It may be that the packing pattern of the crystal (if it forms) changes, but how it affects the biodegradability of the polymer?

There is an answer relating to this topic, but it has no explanation regarding this difference in polyamides.

Edit: There is another similar question 'https://chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/157770/why-is-nylon-2-6-biodegradable-but-nylon-6-6-isnt' but the answer's ambiguity does not satisfy my question's need.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Just speculation that the pattern R-CO-NH-CH2-CO-NH-R may fool enzymes to consider the polymer as a protein or peptide. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Commented May 18 at 5:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Poutnik That means enzymes first decide which work to do :) $\endgroup$
    – KeShAw
    Commented May 18 at 5:14
  • $\begingroup$ They may be opportunistic. :-) One of polymers contains natural aminoacid. One of polymers is biodegradable. For some random reasons it is the polymer with the natural aminoacid. :-) $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Commented May 18 at 5:18
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? Why is Nylon-2,6 biodegradable but Nylon-6,6 isn't? $\endgroup$ Commented May 18 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ I can't find a link quickly, but I remember that, once, wood was not biodegradable, resulting in coal deposits and very high levels of oxygen in the atmosphere until some fungus found a way to feed on wood. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19 at 21:57


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