Design of a prototype for the qualitative assessment of the biodegradability of agro-industrial polymer wastes: Case study on "totumo" (Crescentia cujete)

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Raúl Sánchez
Yineer Castillo
Javier Muñoz


This article addresses the growing concern for industrial waste management and the evaluation of biodegradability of materials, focusing on cattail (Crescentia cujete). An automated system for monitoring gases (CO and CO2) and temperature was developed to assess biodegradability. Over a period of 20 days, CO2 and CO emissions were recorded and correlated with fungal growth in the totumo samples. Peak CO2 emission was observed at 76 hours, indicating microbial activity. In addition, particle size and thermal treatments were found to affect biodegradability, with smaller sizes and higher temperatures being beneficial. Despite its semi-crystalline cellulose content, which presents some resistance, totumo is estimated to have a degradation rate similar to other non-timber lignocellulosic residues such as corn, sugarcane, banana, and coffee. This suggests that totumo has the potential to produce biodegradable polymers and biogas, contributing to a more sustainable management of agroindustrial wastes.


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Sánchez, R., Castillo, Y., & Muñoz, J. (2023). Design of a prototype for the qualitative assessment of the biodegradability of agro-industrial polymer wastes: Case study on "totumo" (Crescentia cujete). I+ T+ C- Research, Technology and Science, 1(17). Retrieved from
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