Biodegradation of Poly(Vinyl Alcohol)/Poly (β-Hydroxybutyrate) Graft Copolymers and Relevant Blends
In the present paper, the results are reported of an investigation on the biodegradability of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) based systems containing poly(ß-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) of both microbial and synthetic source, as attained by polymerization of racemic ß-butyrolactone. These materials, in the form of graft copolymers and blends, were submitted to the biological attack of natural soil and specific PVA-degrading microorganisms in respirometric tests. Significant levels of mineralization were recorded under soil burial conditions, though still lower than the biodegradation extent recorded by a filter paper sample utilized as biodegradable reference material. High levels of mineralization of PVA based blend and graft copolymer with atactic PHB occurred in a aqueous medium inoculated with PVA-degrading microorganisms. These results confirmed that amorphous PHB oligomers can be bioassimilated by non-PHB-degrading bacteria, also evidencing that high molecular weight atactic PHB can be degraded by the same selected microbial strains when blended with PVA.
KeywordsGraft Copolymer Vinyl Acetate Vinyl Alcohol Soil Burial Hydroxybutyric Acid
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