Honors College
 

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Abstract

This study was designed to evaluate the biodegradation and feasibility of growing three oyster mushroom species - Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus citrinopileatus, and Pleurotus djamor - on three different cigarette filter waste substrates: intact cigarette filters, blended cigarette filters, and smoked, intact cigarette filters. Cigarette filters are a common waste and are made primarily of cellulose acetate. Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.) have been shown to degrade synthetic polymers similar to cellulose acetate. In the experiment, the substrates were inoculated with mushroom spawn and placed in a growth chamber maintained at 24° C. After a six-week period, mycelium surface area colonization, observed quality, and biodegradation by weight was calculated. All species had accelerated biodegradation compared to an estimated natural biodegradation of 25% over six weeks. P. djamor had the highest quality mushrooms and the blended cigarette filter substrate had the highest colonization percentage. The costs associated with the procurement of cigarette filters may rapidly increase break-even metrics and may cause an enterprise to be nonviable commercially. Direct investment or government sustainability grants would be required to successfully maintain a small growing operation. Countries with a low HDI (Human Development Index) would benefit greatly benefit from these methods. The safety of the mushrooms for consumption should be investigated in further studies. Overall, P. djamor should be further investigated as a mushroom with possible economic value to degrade cigarette filter waste.

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