Biodegradation of poly(ε-caprolactone) in natural water environments

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Abstract

The environmental degradation of poly(ε-caprolactone)[PCL] in natural fresh water (pond) and in The Baltic Sea is presented in this paper. The characteristic parameters of both environments were measured during experiment and their influence on the biodegradation of the samples was discussed. The loss of weight and changes of surface morphology of polymer samples were tested during the period of incubation. The poly(ε-caprolactone) was more biodegradable in natural sea water than in pond. PCL samples were completely assimilated over the period of six weeks incubation in The Baltic Sea water, but after forty two weeks incubation in natural fresh water the polymer weight loss was about 39%. The results have confirmed that the investigated polymers are susceptible to an enzymatic attack of microorganisms, but their activity depends on environments.

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