Polyester polymers are synthetic polymers. Essentially all biopolymers are degraded upon exposure to the right type of microorganism because the enzymes used in synthesizing polymers have closely related counterpart enzymes in nature that can degrade the polymer.[1] Unfortunately, for synthetic polymers, the degradation mechanisms are not that simple and not well understood. Synthetic polymers are new to the environment and the method for their degradation doesn't exist in the environment. It is assumed that enzymes that degrade natural polymers are non-specific enough to degrade a closely related synthetic polymer. Based on this, scientists have carried a variety of tests on the biodegradability of polyester by exposing polyester to various microorganisms.[1] The results of biodegradation tests on polyester polymers have made it abundantly clear that polyester is a biodegradable polymer. Using Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, it was observed that polyester polymers were being attacked by enzymes randomly on any easily accessible part of the polymer. The enzymes hydrolyzed the connecting bonds between the monomers, thus breaking the large polymer in to smaller units. It is still not clear what degradation products are produced by the biodegradation of polyester polymers and how they are incorporated in to the environment.[1]




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  1. ^ Lenz RW. 1993. Biodegradable polymers. Advances in Polymer Sciences.107:1-40.