Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 205–212 | Cite as

Biodegradability of Poly (lactic acid), Preparation and Characterization of PLA/Gum Arabic Blends

  • John M. OnyariEmail author
  • Francis Mulaa
  • Joshua Muia
  • Paul Shiundu
Original Paper


In this study, the biodegradation of PLA films using microorganisms from Lake Bogoria (Kenya) were investigated. The biodegradation tests done using certain strains of thermophilic bacteria showed faster biodegradation rates and demonstrated temperature dependency. The biodegradation of the PLA films was studied using Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC) and light microscopy. The biodegradation of PLA was demonstrated by decrease in molecular weight. The preparation and characterization of PLA/Gum Arabic blends were also investigated using DSC, TGA, TMA and NMR. In summary, the results obtained in this research show that PLA films undergo fast biodegradation using thermophiles isolated from Lake Bogoria. The PLA/GA blends studies show it is possible to prepare films of varying hydrophobic–hydrophilic properties for various applications.


Polylactic acid Gum Arabic Blends Biodegradation Characterization 



The authors acknowledge Prof. Samuel J. Huang of IMS, University of Connecticut for providing PLA used in this study. The authors wish to acknowledge the travel grant from UNESCO to the Institute of Polymer Science, University of Stellenbosh, Cape Town, South Africa and to the Director, Prof Ron Sanderson and laboratory staff for use of their facilities for some analysis. We also thank the Chairmen of the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Nairobi for access to facilities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Onyari
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francis Mulaa
    • 2
  • Joshua Muia
    • 3
  • Paul Shiundu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryCollege of Biological and Physical Sciences, University of NairobiNairobiKenya
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryCollege of Biological and Physical Sciences, University of NairobiNairobiKenya
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA

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