Advancing the Understanding of Polyurethane Biodegradation by Trichoderma sp.

A significant environmental problem affecting the global carbon cycle is the accumulation of considerable amounts of plastic waste in the environment. The soil environment has become a hub for screening microorganisms that hold the potential for plastic degradation because of the presence of plastics. In this study, Trichoderma sp. was evaluated for its capacity to degrade polyester polyurethane in hundreds of soil samples collected in proximity to plastic waste. Plastic degradation was quantified by measuring clearance in the study. The surface of PU films exhibited cracks and holes, which were investigated using optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). In addition, the Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) analysis detected a new peak around 3500 cm-1, suggesting the formation of an -OH group. Subsequent GC-MS analysis facilitated the decomposition of the polyurethane and identification of the newly formed material, confirming the ability of Trichoderma sp. to degrade polyurethane. Further experimentation will ascertain the degradation mechanism and evaluate the effective biodegradation of PU.