In the reported experiments, changes in dynamic mechanical properties of cellophane films due either to fungal attack or to hydrochloric acid hydrolysis have been measured. It appears that damage caused by cellulase enzymes that are released from a fungal overgrowth is localized in noncrystalline regions. These effects include a substantial reduction in elastic modulus, a reduction in temperature at which relaxation processes involving chain segmental mobility occur, and a broadening of loss tangent peaks due to segmental mobility and to rotations of methylol groups. Comparing results obtained from cellulase hydrolysis with those obtained from acid hydrolysis, it is clear that enzyme attack proceeds by a characteristic and selective process. Implications regarding the embrittlement often seen to accompany biodegradation are discussed.
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