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Municipal biowaste treatment plants contribute to the contamination of the environment with residues of biodegradable plastics with putative higher persistence potential

Title data

Steiner, Thomas ; Zhang, Yuanhu ; Möller, Julia N. ; Agarwal, Seema ; Löder, Martin G. J. ; Greiner, Andreas ; Laforsch, Christian ; Freitag, Ruth:
Municipal biowaste treatment plants contribute to the contamination of the environment with residues of biodegradable plastics with putative higher persistence potential.
In: Scientific Reports. Vol. 12 (30 May 2022) Issue 1 . - No. 9021.
ISSN 2045-2322
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-12912-z

Official URL: Volltext

Project information

Project title:
Project's official titleProject's id
Open Access PublizierenNo information

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
This study was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – SFB 1357 – 391977956. We also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and Energy, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany (Project: MiKoBo, reference number BWMK18001 and BWMK18007). Open Access Publishing was funded by the German Research Foundation – 491183248 and the Open Access Publishing Fund of the University of Bayreuth.

Abstract in another language

Biodegradable plastics (BDP) are expected to mineralize easily, in particular under conditions of technical composting. However, the complexity of the sample matrix has largely prevented degradation studies under realistic conditions. Here composts and fertilizers from state-of-the-art municipal combined anaerobic/aerobic biowaste treatment plants were investigated for residues of BDP. We found BDP fragments \textgreater 1 mm in significant numbers in the final composts intended as fertilizer for agriculture and gardening. Compared to pristine compostable bags, the recovered BDP fragments showed differences in their material properties, which potentially renders them less prone to further biodegradation. BDP fragments \textless 1 mm were extracted in bulk and came up to 0.43 wt% of compost dry weight. Finally, the liquid fertilizer produced during the anaerobic treatment contained several thousand BDP fragments \textless 500 µm per liter. Hence, our study questions, if currently available BDP are compatible with applications in areas of environmental relevance, such as fertilizer production.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Ecology; Environmental sciences
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry > Chair Macromolecular Chemistry II
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science > Chair Process Biotechnology > Chair Process Biotechnology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ruth Freitag
Profile Fields
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Polymer and Colloid Science
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit > SFB 1357 - MIKROPLASTIK
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science > Chair Process Biotechnology
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 540 Chemistry
500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
600 Technology, medicine, applied sciences > 600 Technology
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2022 06:28
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2022 06:46
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/70448