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Currently, the negative environmental effects of non-biodegradable conventional polymers are in the focus of the public discussion. Biodegradable polymers represent a valid alternative, offering new end of life options and a reduced environmental impact. Nevertheless stakeholders (e.g. politicians) ask the question: based on scientific evidence, is it possible to undoubtfully prove that biodegradable materials are truly biodegradable? Some years ago BASF has started a scientific journey to give an answer to this question.
Together with partners, such as ETH Zürich and HYDRA Marine Sciences Institute, BASF started investigating in a systematic and fundamental way the biodegradation process of biodegradable polymers in different environments: industrial and home composting, anaerobic conditions, soil, waste water, limnic and marine habitats. The presentation will give an overview of the scientific methods developed so far to understand the interaction between materials, abiotic and biotic (microbes, enzymes) factors and the correlation between laboratory test and field trials.
Chong Becker, research scientist in the group of Prof. Andreas Künkel in BASF, for biopolymer research. She is focusing on understanding biopolymer degradation in different environments, e.g. soil, marine, from microbiological aspect.
Before joining BASF, she was working as postdoc in University Osnabrück on synthetic microbial community and received her PhD degree in molecular microbiology from University Munich. In her master study in China, she was focusing on understanding microorganisms and enzymes for lignocellulose degradation in composting process.
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