A New Respirometric Test Simulating Soil Burial Conditions for the Evaluation of Polymer Biodegradation

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Abstract

A new convenient and reliable method is described for assessing the biodegradation properties of polymeric materials under simulated soil burial conditions, which makes it possible to test with nutrient-rich soils. This method consists of the utilization of a minimum amount of a soil layer, in which the samples to be tested are set in close contact, sandwiched between two layers of perlite, a natural porous aluminosilicate. The biodegradation level is monitored by determining the carbon dioxide evolution derived from the test samples. The limited amount of soil used limits carbon dioxide evolution from the blanks, due to the corresponding limited overall amount of soil carbon. This experimental setup allows for an extremely satisfactory level of confidence in the analytical results, permitting a wider variety of soil types to be tested.

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