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Article

Upcycling Biodegradable PVA/Starch Film to a Bacterial Biopigment and Biopolymer

1
Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, University of Belgrade, Vojvode Stepe 444a, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
2
Institute of Chemistry, Technology and Metallurgy, University of Belgrade, Njegoseva 12, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
3
Athlone Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Athlone, N37HD68 Co. Westmeath, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
B. Pantelic and M. Ponjavic contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Sergio Torres-Giner
Polymers 2021, 13(21), 3692; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213692
Received: 24 August 2021 / Revised: 15 October 2021 / Accepted: 21 October 2021 / Published: 27 October 2021
Meeting the challenge of circularity for plastics requires amenability to repurposing post-use, as equivalent or upcycled products. In a compelling advancement, complete circularity for a biodegradable polyvinyl alcohol/thermoplastic starch (PVA/TPS) food packaging film was demonstrated by bioconversion to high-market-value biopigments and polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) polyesters. The PVA/TPS film mechanical properties (tensile strength (σu), 22.2 ± 4.3 MPa; strain at break (εu), 325 ± 73%; and Young’s modulus (E), 53–250 MPa) compared closely with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) grades used for food packaging. Strong solubility of the PVA/TPS film in water was a pertinent feature, facilitating suitability as a carbon source for bioprocessing and microbial degradation. Biodegradability of the film with greater than 50% weight loss occurred within 30 days of incubation at 37 °C in a model compost. Up to 22% of the PVA/TPS film substrate conversion to biomass was achieved using three bacterial strains, Ralstonia eutropha H16 (Cupriavidus necator ATCC 17699), Streptomyces sp. JS520, and Bacillus subtilis ATCC6633. For the first time, production of the valuable biopigment (undecylprodigiosin) by Streptomyces sp. JS520 of 5.3 mg/mL and the production of PHB biopolymer at 7.8% of cell dry weight by Ralstonia eutropha H16 from this substrate were reported. This low-energy, low-carbon post-use PVA/TPS film upcycling model approach to plastic circularity demonstrates marked progress in the quest for sustainable and circular plastic solutions. View Full-Text
Keywords: biopolymers; thermoplastic starch; mechanical properties; PVA; biodegradation; upcycling; biopigments biopolymers; thermoplastic starch; mechanical properties; PVA; biodegradation; upcycling; biopigments
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pantelic, B.; Ponjavic, M.; Jankovic, V.; Aleksic, I.; Stevanovic, S.; Murray, J.; Fournet, M.B.; Nikodinovic-Runic, J. Upcycling Biodegradable PVA/Starch Film to a Bacterial Biopigment and Biopolymer. Polymers 2021, 13, 3692. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213692

AMA Style

Pantelic B, Ponjavic M, Jankovic V, Aleksic I, Stevanovic S, Murray J, Fournet MB, Nikodinovic-Runic J. Upcycling Biodegradable PVA/Starch Film to a Bacterial Biopigment and Biopolymer. Polymers. 2021; 13(21):3692. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213692

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pantelic, Brana, Marijana Ponjavic, Vukasin Jankovic, Ivana Aleksic, Sanja Stevanovic, James Murray, Margaret B. Fournet, and Jasmina Nikodinovic-Runic. 2021. "Upcycling Biodegradable PVA/Starch Film to a Bacterial Biopigment and Biopolymer" Polymers 13, no. 21: 3692. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213692

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