Wang, S., Song, C., Mizuno, W. et al. J Polym Environ (2005) 13: 39. doi:10.1007/s10924-004-1214-7
To assess the capacity of the natural environment for degrading PHB/V, the film-MPN method proposed previously was modified to estimate the numbers of PHB/V degrading microorganisms (degraders) in various environments. The First-Order Reaction (FOR) model was used to determine the appropriate incubation period for the method. Numbers of aerobic PHB/V degraders were estimated in garden soil, paddy field soil, farm soil, river bank soil, infertile garden soil, river water, activated sludge, and seawater by the film-MPN method. Results were compared with those estimated by the clear-zone technique and showed that the film-MPN method was suitable for estimating the numbers of PHB/V degraders in the environments tested. On the other hand, biodegradability of injection molded PHB/V samples was investigated in several kinds of environments. The changes of weight were studied and results showed that biodegradability of PHB/V related to the numbers of PHB/V degraders in similar ecosystem in different regions. In different environments the biodegradability of PHB/V not only related to the number of PHB/V degraders, but also depended on whether there were conditions for the PHB/V degraders to grow and proliferate easily in the environment.