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Biodegradation Behavior of Some Vegetable Oil-based Polymers

Shogren, R.L., Petrovic, Z., Liu, Z., Erhan, S.Z.
Journal of polymers and the environment 2004 v.12 no.3 pp. 173
soybean oil, linseed oil, tung oil, polymerization, oxidation, polymers, biodegradable products, biodegradability, biodegradation, mineralization, soil microorganisms
The potential biodegradability of several vegetable oil-based polymers was assessed by respirometry in soil for 60-100 days at temperatures of 30-58°C. Films of soybean oil and linseed oil which were oxidatively polymerized (Co catalyst) on a kraft paper support were 90%-100% mineralized to CO2 after 70 days at 30°C. Mineralization of polymerized tung oil to CO2 was much slower than soy or linseed oils. Mineralization of epoxy resins made from epoxidized soybean oil (ESO) and aliphatic dicarboxylic acids was rapid while mineralization of similar resins made with a triacid (citric) was slower. There was no significant degradation of polyamine/ ESO resins after 100 days at 58°C. Mineralization of the available carbon in vegetable oil polyurethanes and cationically polymerized ESO was less than 7.5% after 70 days at 30°C and 25 days at 55°C compared to 100% for soybean oil. From these results, it appears that triglycerides highly cross-linked with non-degradable linkages are not biodegradable to a significant extent while triglycerides cross-linked with hydrolysable bonds such as esters remain biodegradable.