ORIGINAL RESEARCH
The Susceptibility of Polyethylene Modified with Bionolle to Biodegradation by Filamentous Fungi
S. Łabużek, B. Nowak, J. Pająk*Introduction
 
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Department of Biochemistry
University of Silesia, Jagiellońska 28, 40-032 Katowice, Poland
 
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2004;13(1):59–68
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ABSTRACT
The aim of this investigation was the biodegradation of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film modified with Bionolle by fungi. The samples in the form of composite films were prepared by homogenization and extrusion. The effect of polymer composition on mechanical properties was determined. We proved that the composite film had higher tensile strength and elongation at break than LDPE. Examined films were incubated in the presence of the fungi Aspergillus niger and and Penicillium funiculosum isolated from a dump. Degree of colonization and surface morphology of the films with an optical microscope and a scanning electron microscope were observed. The effect of microorganisms’ action on the samples by the loss of mass and FTIR spectroscopy was estimated. The results of the study have proven that both fungi were capable of degrading polyethylene. P. funiculosum, which is well known for secreting various polymerdegrading enzymes totally assimilated the composite film containing 40% of this highly hydrophobic polymer. It was concluded that polyethylene film modified with 60% (wt/wt) Bionolle can be degraded within 90 days according to European directive 94/92/EC.
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