Morphology and Color Change of Pulp Fiber Sheet in Seawater and Soil

Akane Hosaka, Makoto Yoshida, Yoshiki Horikawa, Ryota Kose


Paper, or a pulp fiber sheet, is biodegradable and it can be a promising alternative to plastics, thus avoiding a serious form of marine pollution. However, its degradability in marine environments has not been well studied. This study investigated how a network of pulp fibers disintegrates in seawater compared with soil. Samples of pulp fiber sheets were exposed to seawater and soil for 4 months under stationary conditions at 25 °C. Digital photo images and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images were used for morphological and color change investigations, while Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) analysis was used to compare the chemical components of the samples before and after degradation. The area of the sample decreased by 22.3% in the seawater. The degradation rate in seawater was much lower than in the soil. The degradation mechanism in seawater was different from that in the soil because of the different microorganisms in each environment.


Degradation; Pulp fiber sheet; Fungi; Bacteria; Marine environment; Soil environment; SEM; FT-IR

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