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Impact of mechanical and thermo-chemical pretreatments to enhance anaerobic digestion of poly(lactic acid)

Abstract : To date, the introduction of biodegradable plastics such as PLA in anaerobic digestion systems has been limited by a very low rate of biodegradation. To overcome these limitations, pretreatment technologies can be applied. In this study, the impact of pretreatments (mechanical, thermal, thermo-acid, and thermo-alkaline) was investigated. Mechanical pretreatment of PLA improved its biodegradation rate but did not affect the ultimate methane potential (430–461 NL CH4 kg−1 VS). In parallel, thermal and thermo-acid pretreatments exhibited a similar trend for PLA solubilization. Both of these pretreatments only achieved substantial solubilization (>60%) at higher temperatures (120 and 150 °C). At lower temperatures (70 and 90 °C), negligible solubilization (between 1 and 6%) occurred after 48 h. By contrast, coupling of thermal and alkaline pretreatment significantly increased solubilization at the lower temperatures (70 and 90 °C). In terms of biodegradation, thermo-alkaline pretreatment (with 5% w/v Ca(OH)2) of PLA resulted in a similar methane potential (from 325 to 390 NL CH4 kg−1 VS) for 1 h at 150 °C, 6 h at 120 °C, 24 h at 90 °C, and 48 h at 70 °C. Reduction of the Ca(OH)2 concentration (from 5% to 0.5% w/v) highlighted that a concentration of 2.5% w/v was sufficient to achieve a substantial level of biodegradation. Pretreatment at 70 and 90 °C using 2.5% w/v Ca(OH)2 for 48 h resulted in biodegradation yields of 73% and 68%, respectively. Finally, a good correlation (R2 = 0.90) was found between the PLA solubilization and its biodegradation.
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Submitted on : Monday, March 14, 2022 - 10:59:23 AM
Last modification on : Friday, May 20, 2022 - 9:04:17 AM

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G. Cazaudehore, Remy Guyoneaud, C. Vasmara, Paul Greuet, Emmanuelle Gastaldi, et al.. Impact of mechanical and thermo-chemical pretreatments to enhance anaerobic digestion of poly(lactic acid). Chemosphere, Elsevier, 2022, 297, pp.133986. ⟨10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.133986⟩. ⟨hal-03607711⟩

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