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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Jun 15;42(12):4551-4.

Enhanced degradation in nanocomposites of TiO2 and biodegradable polymer.

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  • 1Nanotechnology Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba Central 5, 1-1-1 Higashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8565, Japan AIST.


Nanocomposites of titamium dioxide (TiO2) particles and biodegradable poly (butylene succinate) (PBS) were fabricated by melt-blending using a high-shear extruder. TiO2 particles were highly dispersed in the PBS matrix by high-shear processing, and the addition of TiO2 particles into PBS did not decrease its mechanical strength. The photocatalytic decomposition and biodegradable properties of the nanocomposites were evaluated by UV irradiation or enzymatic degradation methods in vitro. It was found that both the esterase enzyme and UV irradiation decomposed the nanocomposites. Photocatalytic decomposition of PBS clearly depended on the size and dispersibility of TiO2 particles in PBS polymer. Higher dispersibility and smaller size of TiO2 particles were effective on the photocatalytic oxidation of PBS. In addition, decomposition rate under a simultaneous UV irradiation treatment and immersion in an enzyme solution was higher than those under UV irradiation or immersion in an enzyme solution. These results indicate that the nanocomposites can easily be decomposed not only by an enzyme in soil or compost, but also by photocatalytic oxidation of TiO2 under sunlight.

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