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Rapid (bio)degradation of polylactide by mixed culture of compost microorganisms - low molecular weight products and matrix changes
KTH, Superseded Departments, Polymer Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7790-8987
KTH, Superseded Departments, Polymer Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5394-7850
KTH, Superseded Departments, Polymer Technology.
2000 (English)In: Polymer, ISSN 0032-3861, E-ISSN 1873-2291, Vol. 41, no 7, 2331-2338 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) was rapidly (bio)degraded by a mixed culture of compost microorganisms. After 5 weeks in biotic environment, the films had fragmented to fine powder, while the films in corresponding abiotic medium still looked intact. Analysis of the low molecular weight products by GC-MS showed that microorganisms rapidly assimilated lactic acid and lactoyl lactic acid from the films. At the same time, a new degradation product, ethyl ester of lactoyl lactic acid was formed in the biotic environment. This product cannot be formed by abiotic hydrolysis and it was not detected in the abiotic medium. The degradation of the PLLA matrix was monitored by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), size exclusion chromatography (SEC) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). A rapid molecular weight decrease and increasing polydispersity was observed in the biotic environment. In the abiotic environment only a slight molecular weight decrease was seen and the polydispersity started decreasing towards 2.0. This indicates different degradation mechanisms, i.e. preferred degradation near the chain ends in the biotic environment and a random hydrolysis of the ester bonds in the abiotic environment. SEM micrographs showed the formation of patterns and cracks on the surface of the films aged in biotic medium, while the surface of the sterile films remained smooth. The SEM micrographs showed a large number of bacteria and mycelium of fungi growing on the surface of the biotically aged films.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2000. Vol. 41, no 7, 2331-2338 p.
Keyword [en]
polylactide, biodegradation, low molecular weight products, structure-property relationships, poly(lactic acid) degradation, lactic-acid, enzymatic degradability, hydrolytic degradation, poly(dl-lactic acid), mass-spectrometry, aqueous-media, copolymers, stereochemistry
National Category
Polymer Technologies Polymer Chemistry
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-19482ISI: 000084740200001OAI: diva2:338174
QC 20100525 NR 20140804Available from: 2010-08-10 Created: 2010-08-10 Last updated: 2012-02-01Bibliographically approved

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