Degradation of vulcanized and nonvulcanized polyisoprene rubbers by lipid peroxidation catalyzed by oxidative enzymes and transition metals

Biomacromolecules. Mar-Apr 2003;4(2):321-9. doi: 10.1021/bm025683k.


Despite numerous reports concerning the biodegradation of rubber materials, there has been no report of rubber degradation by fully characterized enzymes. In the present paper, we presented a new method to decompose nonvulcanized and vulcanized polyisoprene rubbers by controlling the free radical chain reactions of lipids using oxidative enzymes, manganese peroxidase (MnP), laccase (Lac), and horseradish peroxidase (HRP). Nonvulcanized synthetic polyisoprene (IR) was degraded by the free radicals from unsaturated fatty acids produced by MnP, HRP, and a combination of Lac/1-hydroxybenzotriazole. In contrast, lipoxygenase caused no apparent degradation. Degradation of IR was also observed in lipid peroxidation initiated by the Fenton reaction (FR) and Mn(III), an oxidation product produced by MnP. Vulcanized polyisoprene rubber sheets were degraded by the lipid peroxidation initiated by HRP, MnP, Mn(III), and FR. Pyrolysis GC-MS analysis demonstrated that the lipid peroxidation liberated isoprenoid fragments from the vulcanized rubbers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Butadienes / chemistry*
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Hemiterpenes / chemistry*
  • Lipid Peroxidation*
  • Metals / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Pentanes / chemistry*
  • Rubber / chemistry*


  • Butadienes
  • Hemiterpenes
  • Metals
  • Pentanes
  • isoprene
  • Rubber