The development of biopolymers has raised issues about their recalcitrance in the environment. Their disposal is mainly carried out with the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) through thermophilic anaerobic digestion and aerobic composting, bioprocesses aimed at turning organic matter into biogas and compost. However, the effects of biopolymers on OFMSW treatment, on the final compost and on the microbial communities involved are partly unexplored. In this study, the OFMSW treatment was reproduced on a laboratory-scale respecting real plant conditions and testing the impacts of mixing polylactic acid (PLA) and starch-based bioplastic (SBB) separately. The dynamics of bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities during the process was screened by high-throughput sequencing (HTS) of phylogenetic amplicons. Starch-based bioplastic showed a minor and heterogeneous microbial diversity between the anaerobic and aerobic phases. Contrariwise, PLA treatment resulted in wider and more diverse bacterial and fungal communities for the compost and the aerobic biofilm. Since the biodiversity in compost may play a crucial role in its stability and safety, the modulation of environmental microbial communities induced by higher concentrations of PLA in OFMSW treatment can pose relevant issues.
- food waste
- microbial ecology