Date of Award

Spring 1990

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Science - (M.S.)

Department

Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Samir S. Sofer

Second Advisor

Richard B. Trattner

Third Advisor

David Kafkewitz

Abstract

The performance of immobilized and free microorganisms in the biodegradation of polymers was investigated using a recirculation flow reactor and an air-sparged reactor respectively. The bio-oxidation ability of these microbes towards polyamide emulsion was studied.

Extracellular protein cuts isolated were checked for oxidative activity in a microassay reactor. These fractions were compared from various biodegradation studies.

Microassay tests and monitoring of the oxygen consumption in recirculation flow confirmed substrate dependent oxygen consumption, polyamide being provided as the sole carbon source. Increases in extracellular protein buildup were a positive indication of biodegradation.

The protein cut greater than 500,000 daltons was found to be the most active (highest specific activity) and catalase and oxidase were found to be two of the enzymes in the extracellular protein mix.

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