Accession Number : ADA316481

Title :   AASERT Fellowship/Microbial Degradation of Polymers Used in Electronics.

Descriptive Note : Final rept. 1992-1996,

Corporate Author : HARVARD UNIV CAMBRIDGE MA

Personal Author(s) : Mitchell, Ralph

PDF Url : ADA316481

Report Date : 13 SEP 1996

Pagination or Media Count : 13

Abstract : Our research has had as its primary objective the investigation of the biodegradation processes involved in the interaction between microorganisms and polymers of interest to the Air Force, particularly polyurethane. We have grown polyurethane-degrading microorganisms from soil which had been contaminated with polyurethane-based paints for a number of years. Electrochemical impedence spectroscopy demonstrated that mixtures of microorganisms isolated from the contaminated soil yielded significant decomposition of the polymer within two months. Experiments with pure polyurethane showed that the microorganims utilized the polyurethane as a source of carbon and energy, rather than industrial contaminants. We showed that the adhesion of microorganisms to solid surfaces exerted a positive effect on the degradation process. The possibility of using bioreactors was considered. The ability of slow growing microorganisms to benefit from their attachment to solid surfaces because the growth rate is uncoupled from hydraulic retention time would permit degradation of polymers over long periods of time. This AASERT fellowship project supported a doctoral student, Jennifer Byrnes Brower, until the completion of her doctorate in February 1996.

Descriptors :   *DEGRADATION, *POLYMERS, *MICROORGANISMS, SOURCES, AIR FORCE, SPECTROSCOPY, BIOCHEMISTRY, ADHESION, CARBON, MIXTURES, SURFACES, CHEMICAL REACTORS, PURITY, SOILS, RETENTION(GENERAL), CONTAMINANTS, PAINTS, ATTACHMENT, CONTAMINATION, HYDRAULICS, BIODEGRADATION, POLYURETHANE RESINS, DECOMPOSITION, SOLID BODIES, BIODETERIORATION.

Subject Categories : Polymer Chemistry
      Biochemistry
      Microbiology
      Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE