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Frontiers Media S.A.

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Frontiers in Environmental Science

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Conventional petroleum-derived plastics are recalcitrant to biodegradation and can be problematic as they accumulate in the environment. In contrast, it may be possible to add novel, biodegradable bioplastics to anaerobic digesters at municipal water resource recovery facilities along with primary sludge to produce more biomethane. In this study, thermal and chemical bioplastic pretreatments were first investigated to increase the rate and extent of anaerobic digestion. Subsequently, replicate, bench-scale anaerobic co-digesters fed synthetic primary sludge with and without PHB bioplastic were maintained for over 170 days. Two polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), one poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) and one polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastic were investigated. Biochemical methane potential (BMP) assays were performed using both untreated bioplastic as well as bioplastic pretreated at elevated temperature (35–90°C) under alkaline conditions (8R-d]; bioplastic OLR = 0.75 g theoretical oxygen demand per L of reactor volume per day [ThOD/LR-d]) compared to digesters not fed bioplastics. Anaerobic digestion or co-digestion is a feasible management option for biodegradable plastics.


Published version. Frontiers in Environmental Science, Vol. xx, No. x (January 8 2018): XX-XX. DOI.© 2018 Benn and Zitomer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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