Biodegradability of Quaternized, Crosslinked Sugarcane Bagasse*

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Quaternized, crosslinked sugarcane bagasse can adsorb anionic dyes from textile wastewater. Disposal of dye-saturated adsorbent by composting or land application would require that modifications made to the bagasse do not interfere with its decomposition. The impact of quaternization and crosslinking on bagasse biodegradability was examined. Bagasse in varying states of modification was mixed with soil and monitored for carbon dioxide evolution for four weeks at 27°C. After subtracting the amount of carbon evolved from control soil samples, the net carbon evolved from the bagasse samples was determined and used as a measure of their extent of biodegradation. Biodegradability decreased in the order: bagasse (approx. 60% degraded after four weeks) > quaternized bagasse > quaternized, epichlorohydrin-crosslinked bagasse > quaternized, methylene-bis-acrylamide-crosslinked bagasse > epichlorohydrin-crosslinked bagasse (less than 5% degraded). Crosslinking severely impacted biodegration, probably by preventing the penetration of (hemi)cellulytic and lignolytic enzymes into the interior of the modified bagasse particles. It is concluded that the biodegradability of quaternized, crosslinked bagasse is too low for composting or land application.

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