Soil burial-induced degradation of cellulose films in a moisture-controlled environment


In this study, the biodegradability of cellulose films was evaluated in controlled-moisture soil environments. The films were prepared from low-quality cotton fibers through dissolution in DMAc/LiCl, casting, regeneration, glycerol plasticization, and hot-pressing. Two soil burial degradation experiments were conducted in August 2020 (11th August to 13th October) and March 2021 (24th March to 24th July) under controlled moisture conditions to assess the biodegradation behavior of cellulose films. The films were retrieved from soil beds at seven-day intervals, and morphological and physicochemical changes in the films were investigated. The results indicated that the cellulose films exhibited gradual changes starting on Day 7 and major changes after Day 35. Stereomicroscopy images showed the growth and development of fungal mycelia on the surface of the films, and FTIR spectroscopy confirmed the presence of biomolecules originating from microorganisms. The tensile strength and elongation of cellulose films were significantly reduced by 64% and 96% in the first experiment and by 40% and 94% in the second experiment, respectively, during the degradation period. Degradation also significantly impacted the thermal stability (14% and 16.5% reduction, respectively, in the first and second studies) of the films. The cellulose-based films completely degraded within 63 days in late summer and 112 days in spring. This study demonstrates that, unlike synthetic plastics, films prepared from low-quality cotton fibers can easily degrade in the natural environment.


© The Author(s) 2024. cc-by


Biodegradable films, Bioplastics, Cellulose, Compost, Soil burial, Waste cotton


Rumi, S.S., Liyanage, S., & Abidi, N.. 2024. Soil burial-induced degradation of cellulose films in a moisture-controlled environment. Scientific Reports, 14(1).