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Effect of Microbial Degradation (Streptomyces Spp) on Molecular Weight of Natural Rubber

Author(s): Tenebe OG, Ayo MD, Ichetaonye SI and Amoke A

Degradation of natural rubber by Streptomyces spp using dilute solution viscosity measurement technique was studied. Natural rubber latex was dissolved in xylene and exposed to Streptomyces spp for 1, 2 and 3 weeks. The degradation by these species was monitored by measuring the intrinsic viscosity for the various time of exposure. In the absence of the degrading, the intrinsic viscosity for rubber solution is 0.58 g/dl, while when subjected to 1, 2 and 3 weeks exposure in organism (Streptomyces), the intrinsic viscosity for the rubber solution are 0.54 g/dl, 0.52 g/dl and 0.48 g/dl respectively. The result shows that the intrinsic viscosity decreased with an increase in time of exposure of rubber solution to the degradant. This is expected since longer time of exposure to the degradant will provoke chain scission and subsequent reduction in molecular weight which is a measure of the rate of degradant of the polymer.

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