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J Biotechnol. 2001 Mar 30;86(2):87-95.

Biodegradation of polyesters containing aromatic constituents.

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Biochemical Engineering Division, Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung mbH, Mascheroder Weg 1, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany.


Polymers, which undergo a controlled biological degradation by micro-organisms came to remarkable interest during the last years. Composting for instance could so be established as an alternative waste management system for parts of the plastic waste. Within this group of innovative polymer, polyesters play a predominant role, due to their potentially hydrolyzable ester bonds. While aromatic polyesters such as poly(ethylene terephthalate) exhibit excellent material properties but proved to be almost resistant to microbial attack, many aliphatic polyesters turned out to be biodegradable but lack in properties, which are important for application. To combine good material properties with biodegradability, aliphatic-aromatic copolyesters have been developed as biodegradable polymers for many years. This article reviews the attempts to combine aromatic and aliphatic structures in biodegradable plastics and work, which has been done to evaluate the degradation behaviour and environmental safety of biodegradable polyesters, containing aromatic constituents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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