Straw Degradation Behaviors under Different Conditions of Relative Air Humidity and Ultraviolet-A Irradiation

Yunlong Li, Hongying Huang, Guofeng Wu, Zhizhou Chang

Abstract


In this study, straw was degraded continuously for 150 days under one of three levels of relative air humidity (RH) (90%, 60%, or 30%) to estimate the effect of humidity on straw biodegradation. Moreover, straw was treated with ultraviolet (UV)-A irradiation + 90% RH for 180 days to evaluate the interaction between photodegradation and biodegradation. The effects of 30% and 60% RH on straw degradation was inconspicuous. Straw mass losses at 90% RH and UV-A + 90% RH were 18.5% and 39.1%, respectively. BIOLOG analysis showed that filamentous fungi played a major role in straw biodegradation. Thermogravimetric analysis showed that treatment with UV-A + 90% RH tended to increase the maximum pyrolysis rate and decreased the initial pyrolysis temperature. Compared with 90% RH, infrared spectra analysis showed that functional groups of UV-A + 90% RH treatment, e.g., –CH, –C=O, and the benzene ring structure, clearly decreased. Straw-degrading bacteria were observed by scanning electron microscopy at the beginning and end of UV-A + 90% RH treatment. Results highlight the role of humidity in the degree of straw biodegradation by filamentous fungi. Straw degradation is accelerated by the combined action of photodegradation and biodegradation under high UV-A irradiation and high humidity.

Keywords


Relative air humidity; Ultraviolet-A irradiation; Photodegradation; Biodegradation; TGA; ATR-FTIR; BIOLOG; SEM

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