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Biodegradation of Polyhydroxyalkanoate Films in Natural Environments



Summary: Biodegradation of film specimens from polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) of two types – poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) and poly-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV) – was analysed in different environments: tropical sea waters of the South China Sea (Nha Trang, Vietnam) and soils in the environs of Hanoi (Vietnam), Nha Trang (Vietnam) and Krasnoyarsk (Siberia, Russia). In seawater, the mass loss of the specimens of both types was almost equal. However, in tropical soils, PHB degraded quicker than PHBV. In the Siberian soil, the degradation rate of the PHBV was generally higher than that of PHBV. Analysis of molecular mass of PHA specimens showed its decreasing during biodegradation. In the tropical sea conditions, PHA degrading microorganisms were represented by bacteria of Enterobacter, Bacillus and Gracilibacillus genera. Among PHA degrading bacteria, Burkholderia, Alcaligenes, Bacillus, Mycobacterium and Streptomyces genera were identified in Vietnamese soils, and Variovorax, Stenotrophomonas, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Bacillus and Xanthomonas genera in Siberian soils. Micromycetes of Gongronella, Paecilomyces, Penicillium and Trichoderma genera exhibited PHA degrading activity in Vietnamese soils, and Paecilomyces, Penicillium, Acremonium, Verticillium and Zygosporium genera – in Siberian soils.