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Polymer Degradation and Stability
94, No.10, 2009; Pages: 1646 - 1655

Biodegradation of poly(lactic acid) and its nanocomposites

K. Fukushima, C. Abbate, D. Tabuani, M. Gennari, G. Camino

Centro per l'Ingegneria delle Materie Plastiche, Politecnico di Torino sede di Alessandria, INSTM research unit, Viale Teresa Michel 5, 15100 Alessandria, Italy.


PLA nanocomposites based on organically modified montmorillonites at 5% w/w loading were prepared by melt blending using an internal mixer and then degraded in a commercial compost. The addition of nanoclays was found to increase the PLA degradation rate, especially for the highest dispersed clay in the polymer matrix. Biodegradation by microorganisms isolated from the compost showed the bacterium Bacillus licheniformis as one of the responsible for PLA biodegradation in compost. It was also found that clays can influence the polymer bacterial degradation depending on their chemical structure and affinity of the bacterium towards the clay.

Keywords:Poly (lactic acid); Nanocomposites; Biodegradation; Microbial degradation.



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