Submitted to: National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The kinetics of biodegradation of materials has traditionally been measured by using mathematical models such as the Hill sigmoid function and Keursten models. However, these well known models have inherent flaws which limit their usefulness, particularly with multi-component systems that biodegrade. In order to overcome these limitations, new mathematical models were derived which are generally applicable to any material that exhibits monotonic or sigmoidal biodegradation kinetics. The new models permit calculation of the biodegradation rate at any time, the half life of the material, the maximum biodegradation rate and time, and other kinetic parameters. Computer simulation of biodegradation profiles was used to compare the new models with the Hill sigmoid and Keursten models. The new models were validated by testing their power to predict patterns in experimental data from biodegradation of selected biopolymers. Predicted biodegradation profiles agreed very well with gravimetrically determined weight-loss profiles for two biopolymers in aqueous medium. Advantages of the new models are discussed.