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Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2012 Jul;167(6):1595-602. doi: 10.1007/s12010-012-9572-4. Epub 2012 Feb 26.

Degradation of polyurethane by Aspergillus flavus (ITCC 6051) isolated from soil.

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Department of Biotechnology, Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, Noida, India.


The present study deals with the isolation of fungi from soil with the ability to degrade polyurethane (PU). A pure fungal isolate was analyzed for its ability to utilize PU as a sole carbon source in shaking culture for 30 days. Incubation of PU with Aspergillus flavus resulted in 60.6% reduction in weight of PU. The scanning electron microscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) results showed certain changes on the surface of PU film and formation of some new intermediate products after polymer breakdown. Thermogravimetric curves showed changes between the thermal behavior of the samples that were inoculated with A. flavus and control. FTIR spectra showed detectable changes in control and incubated samples, suggesting that degradation occurs, with the decreased intensity of band at 1,715 cm(-1), corresponding to ester linkages. We have identified an extracellular esterase activity which might be responsible for the polyurethanolytic activity.

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