Automatic Biodegradation analysers

11 Nov 2021
The Greener Manufacturing Show Conference
Bioplastics can be naturally biodegradable in various ecological environments such as compost, sewage wastewater, sea or algae environments of sweet or salt waters. For this reason, it is very important to have suitable laboratory methods and equipment to simulate different degradation conditions. It is also desirable that the experiments can be performed in one instrument with different setups. In algae simulating sea or natural water environments it is very important to have good conditions that simulate natural environments. Algae are aquatic, photosynthetic organisms that occupy a broad range of habitats across all latitudes; they are widespread in freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Algae are the most important group of organisms participating in the circulation of matter and energy in ecosystems. For the biodegradation experiments, green microalgae Chlorella vulgaris (CCAP 211/11S) are often used. C. vulgaris is selected as a test organism because of its easy cultivation, its common presence in the environment, fast growth and short generation time as well as good performance in different types of wastewater. The synergy between bacteria, typically heterotrophic species, that use organic matter and O2 for growth while releasing CO2, and photosynthetic autotrophic microalgae, which use CO2 and sunlight for growth, incorporating nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous), allows for better efficiencies in water pollutants removal. The question of how this system works in biodegradation of bioplastic is very important for ecologists, researchers and producers of bioplastics. With the help of a modular respirometer, environmental conditions can be changed to simulate natural environmental conditions during biodegradation. With such a design it is possible to make a test of degradation process in the solid (compost) and the liquid phase (sea water, wastewater or algae). The tests are run in real time, whereas the production or consumption of gases (oxygen, carbon dioxide or others, CH4, NH3, H2S) are being monitored. It is an illusion to expect that the waste bioplastic will appear only at the designated places. Bioplastics, which decompose in the compost, can also be found in rivers or seas, therefore it is important to understand what impact this plastic has on our environment. For this reason, it is necessary to determine the degree of biodegradation of bioplastics in various environments, where the bioplastic waste can be found in nature. With such an approach, we can determine the influence of bioplastics on the environment and thus prevent the pollution of our natural world.
Andrej Holobar, CEO - Echo Instruments