ANALYSIS OF PLASTIC DEGRADATION BY THE FILAMENTOUS FUNGUS ASPERGILLUS ORYZAE
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The present research is focused on the application of Aspergillus oryzae for the degradation of biodegradable plastics and conventional plastics. By addition of inducing agents and altering the initial pH of the culture media, the biodegradation process of biodegradable film was enhanced. The use of inducing substrates olive oil and yeast extract significantly increased the esterase activity of A. oryzae. The alkaline initial pH levels resulted in 20% mass loss of the PBAT/PLA film and significantly increased the esterase activity of A. oryzae. By addition of pro-oxidants, conventional plastics are made more susceptible to UV irradiation and subsequent biodegradation. Colorimetry analysis showed significant changes in the surface of the recalcitrant plastics with pro-oxidant exposure, UV irradiation, and incubation with A. oryzae. Fourier transform infrared analysis showed the production of carbonyl groups with pro-oxidant exposure and UV irradiation, followed by degradation of these groups after incubation with A. oryzae.