Plastic pollution is increasing dramatically. Plastic, a polymeric material, is in everyday use and has attracted increased attention as a large-scale pollutant. Large amounts of plastic in the sea, more than 2.5 million tons per year, come from land. One of the big questions society faces is the stability of polymers against chemicals, hydrolysis, temperature, light, and microbes.
The research by Amir Reza Bagheri et al., conducted in the laboratories of Professor Andreas Greiner and Professor Seema Agarwal, University of Bayreuth, looks at the stability of biodegradable polymers in both fresh water and sea water. Six polymers were chosen for degradation studies, five biodegradable polymers (poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), polycaprolactone (PCL), polylactic acid (PLA), poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB), and Ecoflex) and one non-biodegradable, the well-known PET. All are in everyday use in food packaging or medical applications.