Novel bacterial consortia isolated from plastic garbage processing areas demonstrated enhanced degradation for low density polyethylene

Sinosh Skariyachan, Vishal Manjunatha, Subiya Sultana, Chandana Jois, Vidya Bai, Kiran S Vasist
Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 2016, 23 (18): 18307-19
This study aimed to formulate novel microbial consortia isolated from plastic garbage processing areas and thereby devise an eco-friendly approach for enhanced degradation of low-density polyethylene (LDPE). The LDPE degrading bacteria were screened and microbiologically characterized. The best isolates were formulated as bacterial consortia, and degradation efficiency was compared with the consortia formulated using known isolates obtained from the Microbial Culture Collection Centre (MTCC). The degradation products were analyzed by FTIR, GC-FID, tensile strength, and SEM. The bacterial consortia were characterized by 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequencing. The formulated bacterial consortia demonstrated 81 ± 4 and 38 ± 3 % of weight reduction for LDPE strips and LDPE pellets, respectively, over a period of 120 days. However, the consortia formulated by MTCC strains demonstrated 49 ± 4 and 20 ± 2 % of weight reduction for LDPE strips and pellets, respectively, for the same period. Furthermore, the three isolates in its individual application exhibited 70 ± 4, 68 ± 4, and 64 ± 4 % weight reduction for LDPE strips and 21 ± 2, 28 ± 2, 24 ± 2 % weight reduction for LDPE pellets over a period of 120 days (p < 0.05). The end product analysis showed structural changes and formation of bacterial film on degraded LDPE strips. The 16S rDNA characterization of bacterial consortia revealed that these organisms were novel strains and designated as Enterobacter sp. bengaluru-btdsce01, Enterobacter sp. bengaluru-btdsce02, and Pantoea sp. bengaluru-btdsce03. The current study thus suggests that industrial scale-up of these microbial consortia probably provides better insights for waste management of LDPE and similar types of plastic garbage.

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