Biodegradation of polymers: carbon balance
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
Abstract This article presents a method to determine the carbon content of biomass, which is formed when degrading biodegradable polymers in an aerobic aqueous test system. Existing methods for determining the carbon content of biomass (e.g., fumigazation, protein assays, dry solids) have several disadvantages when applied for polymer degradation tests. In this work a protein assay based on the Lowry method was used. It was shown that the ratio between protein and carbon content is not constant but depends on the composition of the microbial population, the growth phase, and the substrate supply. This effect was used for the method presented in this article. For determining the carbon content of biomass the absorbance obtained by the Lowry test is correlated directly with the carbon content of biomass in dependence on the duration of the degradation test. The calibration curves are obtained by a mixed population of microorganisms during the course of a degradation test.
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