Paige Aileen King


Presentation: 10:45-12:00, Kennedy Union Ballroom



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In order to create novel sustainable and biodegradation resistant coating formulations that do not include toxic additives to humans and/or the environment, the mechanistic complexity of the biodegradation process has to be simplified into general categories and knowledge gaps. This approach will truly identify where active biodegradation stops by microorganisms and where purely chemical hydrolysis and degradation begins. The specific research focus of my project is on the essential role of water and secreted hydrolytic proteins play in the movement and activity of polymer degrading fungi. The result of this focus could ultimately identify if degradation may be attributed to thermodynamic potentials of the organism, polymer coating, or both the microorganisms and polymer coating. My project will focus on a strain of yeast (Aureobasidium sp. W12) isolated and identified from degraded polymer coatings inside of Air Force cargo aircraft. I will determine the culture conditions that stimulate the release of hydrolytic proteins from A. sp. W12 and then use defined polymer coatings and techniques to understand how these proteins are affecting the degradation of polyester polyurethane coating over time as biofilms or facilitate the condensation of water on the surface below the relative dew point during the degradation of the coating. The result of my summer project should be the first identification and key hydrolytic enzymes and mechanisms used by A. sp. W12 in the degradation of polyester polyurethane coatings.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Justin C. Biffinger

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Discovery of Novel Mechanisms During the Biodegradation of Polymer Coatings by an Environmental Strain of Aureobasidium