Degradation of Natural Rubber

Topics: Rubber, Viscosity, Natural rubber Pages: 23 (6682 words) Published: September 5, 2010
Natural rubber is produced by over 2000 plants species and its main constituent is poly (cis-I,4-isoprene).a highly unsaturated hydrocarbon. Since 1914 there have been efforts to investigate microbial rubber degradation: However, only recently have the first proteins involved in this process have been identified and characterized and have the corresponding genes cloned. Analysis of the degradation product of natural rubber and synthetic rubbers isolated from various bacterial cultures indicated without expectation that there was oxidative cleavage of the double bond in the polymer backbone. A similar degradation mechanism was postulated for the cleavage of squalene, which is a triterpene intermediate and precursor of steroids and triterpeniods, aldehydes and /or carbonyl groups were detected in most of the analyzed degradation products isolated from cultures of various rubber degrading strains. Knowledge of the degradation at the protein and genes levels and detailed analysis of detectable degradation products should result in a detailed understanding of these obviously new enzymatic reactions. 1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT

Some difficulties arise while investigating microbial degradation of natural rubber. a. Microbial degradation of natural rubber is a slow process. The growth of bacterial which utilizes the rubber (i.e. the carbon source) is slow also. Therefore time factor for incubation of strain is a problem because to obtain enough cell mass or degradation product of the polymers the strain period of incubation is extended over weeks. b. Additional problems aroused from the presence of other natural biodegrading compounds in natural rubber and latex, even from additives which are required for vulcanization. The latex coagulates spontaneously after collection so the strain was inoculated into its whilst in the liquid phase. Because working with it in its cuplum form is very tedious. However fillers and stoppers are added to inhibit biodegradation of the rubber strain. c. Preserving the life of the micro-organism was also a problem because continual degradation requires sustaining the life of the microbe.

The aim of this study simply put is as follows;
a. Clarifying the taxonomic position of strain.
b. Reduce the effect done by rubber degradation in the environment (i.e. environmental hazard). c. To determine the extent and time to achieve complete degradation of the rubber by strain (Gordonia specie). 1.3 JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY

The degradation of natural rubber by Gordonia sp. Involves chemical changes and therefore requires some chemical means of demonstration. For instance, the occurrence of isoprene oligomers containing aldehydes and ketones after incubation of the latex glove with G. poly-isoprenivorans and other bacterial and the reduction in the numbers of double bonds in the polyisoprene chain were demonstrated by straining with Schiff’s reagents using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy with attenuated total reflectance. This project tries to justify the degrading characteristic of “Gordonia specie” on natural rubber by a suitable physical means viscosity measurement using a simple ubbelohde viscometer. It is suitably the most reliable test for degradation as it’s requires simple equipments for optimum yield, because the use of enzymes is very economical, requires fewer chemicals. Only a suitable solvent for the rubber is necessary and it is very efficient in evaluating the degree of degradation. 1.4 SCOPE OF STUDY

The project deals with the degradation of natural rubber latex by specie of microbe known as Gordonia specie, using dilute solution viscosity measurement. Hevea brasilienses is the specie of rubber tree used and all measurements were carried out using an ubbelohde viscometer. This project is organized carefully to obtain a positive and commendable result in the following ways; Five...
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