Degradation of Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) and Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) by Some Soil Aspergillus spp.

Original Paper


Systematic screening of 45 soil fungi for degradation polyhydroxyalkanoic acids (PHAs) has led to the selection of 6 potent Aspergillus isolates belonging to A. flavus, A. oryzae, A. parasiticus, and A. racemosus. Degradation of PHAs as determined by tube assay method revealed that these Aspergillus spp. were more efficient in degrading poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) [P(3HB)] compared to copolymer of 3-hydroxybutyric acid and 3-hydroxyvaleric acid (P3HB-co-16% 3HV). Moreover, the extent of degradation in mineral base medium was much better than those in complex organic medium. For all the Aspergillus spp. tested, maximum degradation was recorded at a temperature of 37°C with significant inhibition of growth. The optimum pH range for degradation was 6.5–7.0 with degradation being maximum at pH 6.8. The extent of polymer degradation increased with increase in substrate concentration, the optimum concentration for most of the cultures being 0.4% and 0.2% (w/v) for P(3HB) and P(3HB-co-16%3HV) respectively. Supplementation of the degradation medium with additional carbon sources exerted significant inhibitory effect on both P(3HB) and P(3HB-co-16%3HV) degradation.


Polyhydroxyalkanoate Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) Biodegradation Fungi Aspergillus 



This work was supported by the financial assistance from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Microbiology Laboratory, Department of BotanyUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia

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