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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 46, Issue 5–6, pp 570–579 | Cite as

Scanning electron microscopy of polyhydroxyalkanoate degradation by bacteria

  • H. P. Molitoris
  • S. T. Moss
  • G. J. M. de Koning
  • D. Jendrossek
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Bacterial degradation of sheets of selected polyhydroxyalkanoates by Comamonas sp., Pseudomonas lemoignei and Pseudomonas fluorescens GK13 is reported. Five natural polyhydroxyalkanoates were used, namely poly(3-hydroxybutyrate), poly(3-hydroxyvalerate), a copolymer of 3-hydroxybutyrate and 3-hydroxyvalerate, a copolymer of mainly 3-hydroxyoctanoate and minor amounts of 3-hydroxyhexanoate, and two rubber-like copolymers of saturated and unsaturated hydroxyalkanoic acids that had been modified by electron-beam-induced cross-linking. Each of these polymers was degraded by at least one bacterial strain, the rate of hydrolysis being dependent on the surface area of the polymer exposed to attack. Scanning electron microscopy of partially degraded samples showed that hydrolysis started at the surface and at physical lesions in the polymer and proceeded to the inner part of the material. No evidence for areas of non-degradable polymer was found for any of the polymers analysed, even if the polymer contained chemical cross-links.

Keywords

Polymer Microscopy Electron Microscopy Scan Electron Microscopy Hydrolysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. P. Molitoris
    • 1
  • S. T. Moss
    • 2
  • G. J. M. de Koning
    • 3
  • D. Jendrossek
    • 4
  1. 1.Institut für Botanik der Universität Regensburg, Universitätsstrasse 31, D-93040 Regensburg, Germany. Fax: 49 (0)941 943 3106 e-mail: <HANS-PETER.MOLITORIS@biologie. UNI-REGENSBURG.DE>DE
  2. 2.School of Biological Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth PO1 2DY, UKGB
  3. 3.Institut für Biotechnologie der Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule Zürich, 8093 Zürich, SwitzerlandCH
  4. 4.Institut für Mikrobiologie der Georg-August Universität Göttingen, D-37077 Göttingen, GermanyDE

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