Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 167, Issue 2, pp 314–326 | Cite as

Environmental Degradation of Microbial Polyhydroxyalkanoates and Oil Palm-Based Composites

  • Y. S. Salim
  • A. Sharon
  • S. Vigneswari
  • M. N. Mohamad Ibrahim
  • A. A. AmirulEmail author


This paper investigates the degradation of polyhydroxyalkanoates and its biofiber composites in both soil and lake environment. Time-dependent changes in the weight loss of films were monitored. The rate of degradation of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) [P(3HB)], poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) [P(3HB-co-23 mol% 4HB)] and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) [P(3HB-co-9 mol% 3HV-co-19 mol% 4HB)] were investigated. The rate of degradation in the lake is higher compared to that in the soil. The highest rate of degradation in lake environment (15.6 % w/w week−1) was observed with P(3HB-co-3HV-co-4HB) terpolymer. Additionally, the rate of degradation of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) [P(3HB-co-38 mol% 3HV)] was compared to PHBV biofiber composites containing compatibilizers and empty fruit bunch (EFB). Here, composites with 30 % EFB displayed the highest rate of degradation both in the lake (25.6 % w/w week−1) and soil (15.6 % w/w week−1) environment.


Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) Biodegradation Biocomposites Environment 



The authors wish to thank the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia for the research grant to this work. Y. S. Salim acknowledges Ms. Hanisah Kamilah for her guidance in statistical analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. S. Salim
    • 2
    • 3
  • A. Sharon
    • 1
  • S. Vigneswari
    • 1
    • 4
  • M. N. Mohamad Ibrahim
    • 2
  • A. A. Amirul
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversiti Sains MalaysiaMindenMalaysia
  2. 2.School of Chemical SciencesUniversiti Sains MalaysiaMindenMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryUniversiti MalayaSerdangMalaysia
  4. 4.Malaysian Institute of Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals, MOSTIMindenMalaysia

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