Plastic Scientists Explore Microbial Biodegradation of Polymers

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While most plastic from hydrocarbons are recyclable they are also biodegradable without the addition of biodegradable plastic additives over a long period of time. BioSphere’s President Rob Huegli states ” Much research has been done around this topic of hydrocarbons being consumed by microorganisms. Bio-Remediation of oil is performed by oil-eating microorganisms and studies have shown that microbes can also consume various types of plastic like LDPE plastic bags.” Mr. Huegli goes on to explain ” The Department of Biotechnology Engineering of Ben-Gurion University in Israel has confirmed that thermophilic microbes will consume low density polyethylene, this is one of the reasons our company has been researching biodegradation of polymers, BioSphere’s biodegradable plastic additive decreases the period of time for the biodegradation of the polymers utilizing microbes such as the ones found by Ben-Gurion University staff.”

BioSphere’s biodegradable additives are sold around the world to increase the rate at which polymers biodegrade. The Companies products are used in polyethylene(bags, utensils), polypropylene(cups), polystyrene(containers) and polyethylene terephthalate(water bottles and food containers). BioSphere works with such laboratories such as Eden Research Labs out of Albuquerque, NM to validate their biodegradation of polymers and conduct the ASTM D5511-12 and ASTM D5526-12 testing methods. Eden Research Labs is conducting various tests around the BioSphere biodegradable plastic additive which increases the bio assimilation of polymers at rates never seen before in the industry.

BioSphere’s additive works in a different way than other technologies in the market such as OXO’s and BioResins like PLA. PLA disintegrates at high temperatures and doesn’t necessarily compost as one may think, the mechanism of PLA is hydrolysis which reduces the organics into a dust like product which disintegrates or assimilates instead of true microbial action. Oxo-degradable additives reduce the polymer chain by light and heat which allows the microbes a much easier access to the polymer’s to consume. BioSphere’s biodegradable plastic decreases the amount of time for plastic articles to biodegrade utilizing the microbes such as the ones found by Ben-Gurion University in Israel, organically.

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