Apr 21, 2012

Biodegradable Plastic-Decomposing Enzymes Successfully Mass Produced

Japan's National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences announced on November 25, 2011, that it has developed a technique for the mass production of enzymes that decompose biodegradable plastics, while it was exploring the speedier degradation of microbial enzymes. The new technique opens the way for faster on-site decomposition of biodegradable plastic agricultural materials.

The institute had earlier discovered that mold isolated from the leaf surface of gramineous (grass) plants and barley excretes a splitting enzyme into its culture fluid. By adding inexpensive and readily available xylose to the culture, it successfully produced highly concentrated splitting enzymes in large quantities. Sprayed with a water absorptive polymer, the resulting enzyme fluid can decompose biodegradable plastic products in one day.

There are already biodegradable plastic agricultural materials offered commercially in Japan, including multi-purpose film, clips, pots, ropes, nets and weed control sheets, and their market is expected to continue to expand. The institute hopes that the new technique will make plastic waste disposal easier and farm labor less strenuous for aging farmers.

Mold Found to Decompose Biodegradable Plastics Effectively (Related JFS article)