The polymers are being designed to encase cancer drugs for more targeted therapeutic delivery. Instead of spreading throughout the entire body and impacting healthy as well as cancer cells, the medicine can be released when and where needed as the coating dissolves in response to a specific physical or chemical stimulus.
For agriculture applications, coating seeds with these polymers could provide a protective layer to guard against frost and prevent early germination. Nitrogen fertilizer could also be encapsulated in polymers that would degrade only when plants can make best use of the nutrients they need. This targeted release in turn mitigates the unintended environmental harm that sometimes takes place when nutrients run off a field and leach into the watershed.