Biodegradation of thermally treated low density polyethylene by fungus Rhizopus oryzae NS 5

Shraddha Awasthi, Neha Srivastava, Tripti Singh, D Tiwary, Pradeep Kumar Mishra
3 Biotech 2017, 7 (1): 73
Polythene is considered as one of the important object used in daily life. Being versatile in nature and resistant to microbial attack, they effectively cause environmental pollution. In the present study, biodegradation of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) have been performed using fungal lab isolate Rhizopus oryzae NS5. Lab isolate fungal strain capable of adhering to LDPE surface was used for the biodegradation of LDPE. This strain was identified as Rhizopus oryzae NS5 (Accession No. KT160362). Fungal growth was observed on the surface of the polyethylene when cultured in potato dextrose broth at 30 °C and 120 rpm, for 1 month. LDPE film was characterized before and after incubation by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and universal tensile machine. About 8.4 ± 3% decrease (gravimetrically) in weight and 60% reduction in tensile strength of polyethylene was observed. Scanning electron microscope analysis showed hyphal penetration and degradation on the surface of polyethylene. Atomic force microscope analysis showed increased surface roughness after treatment with fungal isolate. A thick network of fungal hyphae forming a biofilm was also observed on the surface of the polyethylene pieces. Present study shows the potential of Rhizopus oryzae NS5 in polyethylene degradation in eco friendly and sustainable manner.

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