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Bioremediation of Biopolymers | OMICS International
ISSN: 2155-6199
Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation

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Bioremediation of Biopolymers

Ashish Chauhan1* and Priyanka Chauhan2
1National Institute Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Mohali (Pb), India
2Shikhar Sr. Secondary School, Dhampur (UP), India
Corresponding Author : Ashish Chauhan
National Institute Pharmaceutical Education and Research
Mohali (Pb), India
Tel: 91-9464616773
E-mail: [email protected]
Received October 25, 2012; Accepted October 27, 2012; Published October 29, 2012
Citation: Chauhan A, Chauhan P (2012) Bioremediation of Biopolymers. J Bioremed Biodeg 3:e127. doi: 10.4172/2155-6199.1000e127
Copyright: © 2012 Chauhan A, et al. This is an open-a ccess article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Abstract

Bioremediation is a need of time and a wise means to utilize biological waste. Naturally occurring biopolymers like collagen, gelatine, clipids, fats, chitin that is processed into chitosan, can be easily modified. Microbial biopolymer feedstocks are major source of Polylactic Acid (PLA) and Polyhydroxy Alkanoates (PHA).

Bioremediation is a need of time and a wise means to utilize biological waste. Naturally occurring biopolymers like collagen, gelatine, clipids, fats, chitin that is processed into chitosan, can be easily modified. Microbial biopolymer feedstocks are major source of Polylactic Acid (PLA) and Polyhydroxy Alkanoates (PHA). Starch is an important agricultural feedstock hydrocolloid biopolymer found in a variety of plants including wheat, corn, rice, beans, and potatoes. Starch is usually utilized in the form of granules and is actually formed by one branched and one linear polymer. Amylose, the linear polymer, comprises approximately 20% w/w of starch, while Amylopectin, the branched polymer, constitutes the remainder. Natural filler materials may be incorporated into synthetic plastic matrices as biodegradable component. Often, granular starch is added to polyethylenes in order to increase the degradation rate of the plastic material. Starch can also be used in its gelatinized form. Heating the starch in the presence of water during injection moulding causes the formation of thermoplastic material that may be deformed during blending. This starch-based product is then blended with either natural or synthetic materials. Heating starch above its glass transition temperature breaks its molecular structure, allowing further bonding. Glycerol is often used as a plasticizer in starch blends, to increase softness and pliability. Starch granules that have been plasticized with water and glycerol are referred to as plasticized starches. Plastic materials that are formed from starch-based blends may be injection molded, extruded, blown, or compression molded. Agricultural feedstocks for the biopolymer industry also include fibers that are used as reinforcing fillers. This classification includes cellulose, which is the highly polar, main structural component of flax and hemp fibers. Natural cellulose fibers are low cost, biodegradable and have strong mechanical properties. These characteristics make cellulose fibres the most common choice for natural fillers in plastic materials. Cellulose fibres in a polypropylene matrix cause a significant increase in tensile modulus. Cellulose has a very long molecular chain, which is infusible and insoluble in all but the most aggressive solvents. Therefore, it is most often converted into derivatives to increase solubility, which further increases adhesion within the matrix. Flax fibers continue to receive the majority of the consideration, as they are mechanically strong and readily available. Chemical treatment like acetylation, mercerization, and graft copolymerization of the fibers is performed in order to modify the surface properties, without changing the fiber structure and morphology. These modifications slow down the initiation of degradation of the fibers, and increase adhesion at the fiber and matrix interface. Research had shown that polyvinyl alcohol is an appropriate polymer to use as a matrix in natural fiber reinforced composites, as it is highly polar and biodegradable. Microbial biopolymer feedstocks produce biological polymers through microbial fermentation. The products are naturally degradable, environmentally friendly substitutes for synthetic plastics. A number of bacteria accumulate Polyhydroxy Alkanoates (PHAs) as intracellular carbon reserves when nutrient deficiencies occur. The biopolymers, that are microbial produced polyesters, have the same thermoplastic and water resistant qualities as synthetic plastics. It was concluded that, increasing the carbon to nitrogen (C:N) ratio in a chemical waste water treatment system increased specific polymer yield (i.e, the production of PHA’s increased). Researchers have long been aware that practically any type of biomass can be converted into sugars through chemical or biological treatments. Certain organisms are then capable of forming PHAs from the sugars. Polylactic acid is the second common biopolymer that is produced by microbial fermentation. It is produced by the condensation of lactic acid, which is obtained through fermentation processes. Wilkinson Manufacturing Co. (Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, USA) has already made commercially available thermoformed all-natural plastic container using a cornbased PLA. The carbon stored in the plant starches is broken down to natural plant sugars. Fermentation and separation form the PLA. PHA and PLA are both considered synthetic polymers, as they are not found in nature. However, they are wholly biodegradable. There are a number of other biological materials that have been examined and manipulated by biopolymer researchers. Wheat contains starch and gluten, both of which are employed by the biopolymer industry. Canola derivatives have potential as both polymers and plasticizers. Chitosan is obtained from the deacetylation of chitin that is found in marine environments. Because it is insoluble in water, chitosan is dissolved in acidic solutions before being incorporated into biodegradable polymer films. The structural characteristics of soy proteins give them potential for industrial applications in plastics and reinforced composite materials. As a general conclusion, it can be stated that many naturally occurring organisms both plant and animal have potential to be modified and employed as biopolymers in various applications for the development of science and technology.
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