Compounds of plant origin are used with polymers as functional additives. However, these substances often have biological (antimicrobial) activity. The bactericidal and fungicidal properties of natural additives can affect the composting process of biodegradable polymers. The scientific novelty of the manuscript is the investigation of the effect of the addition of herbal antimicrobial functional substances on the composting process of green polymers. The aim of the study is to analyze composting processes of biodegradable polymers polylactide (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) containing β-carotene, juglone, morin, and curcumin. As part of the research, six-month composting of materials was performed. At time intervals of one month, the weight loss of samples, surface energy, colour change, mechanical properties, and carbonyl indices (based on FTIR spectroscopy) of composted materials were examined. The research results showed that the addition of selected plant substances slightly slowed down the process of polymer composting. Slower degradation of samples with plant additives was confirmed by the results of mechanical strength tests and the analysis of changes in carbonyl index (CI). The CI analysis showed that PLA and PHA containing a natural additive degrade a month later than reference samples. However, PLA and PHA polyesters with β-carotene, juglone, morin, and curcumin were still very biodegradable.
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