Sr. No.

Title of the paper

Type of the polythene used

Techniques used to assess polythene degradation

Source of the microbes used

Major findings/ conclusions/inferences

Level of Identification

Name of the microbes / enzymes responsible



Assessment of the biodegradation of polythene

Polythene carry bags

Percentage of weight, surface corrosion, tensile strength

Plastic dumping sites

After 3 months of regular shaking the polythene discs were corroded on the surface and tensile strength decreases and maximum 12.5% weight loss was recorded.

Morphological keys and Biochemical tests

Bacillius cerues and Psedomonas sp.



Biodegradation of degradable plastic polyethylene by Phanerochaete and Streptomyces species

degradable plastic contained pro-oxidant and 6% starch

Weight loss, changes in tensile strength, percent elongation and molecular weight distribution

The lignocellulose degrading microorganisms (not specified the site of collection)

50% reduction in tensile strength (S. viridosporus T7A).

Not specified

Streptomyces viridosporus T7A, S. badius 252, and S. setonii 75Vi2 (bacteria) and Phanerochaete chrysosporium (fungus)



Biodegradability of polythene and plastic by the help of microorganism: a way for brighter future

Polythene bags and plastic cups

Weight loss

Five sources: Medicinal Garden soil, (B) Sewage Water Soil, (C) Energy Park soil, (D) Sludge Area soil, (E) Agricultural Soil

After one month of incubation in both bacterial and fungal isolates the maximum degradation by fungi (Aspergillus niger) and bacteria (Streptococcus lactis) was found as 12.25% and 12.5 % respectively

Morphological keys and biochemical tests

B1(Pseudomonas), B2(Bacillus subtilis), B3(Staphylococcus aureus), B4(Streptococcus lactis), B5(Proteus vulgaris),B6 (Micrococcus luteus), F1(Aspergillus niger), F2(Aspergillus nidulance), F3(Aspergillus flavus), F4 (Aspergillus glaucus), F5(Penicillium)



Biodegradation of polyethylene by the thermophilic bacterium Brevibacillus borstelensis.

Branched low-density (0.92 g cm−3) polyethylene

Gravimetric and molecular weight loss, FTIR


11% (gravimetric) and 30% (molecular) weights loss was reported at 50°C after 30 days

Molecular level (Using 16S rDNA)

Brevibaccillus borstelensis strain 707


5. Biodegradability of polyethylene starch blends in sea water Pure polyethylene (5% starch) and modified polyethylene films (8% starch) and polyethylene with prodegradant additives (master batch in amount of 20%) Changes in weight, tensile strength and morphology of polymer Microbes of the Baltic sea as the incubation of polymer samples was carried out in Baltic Sea water For polyethylene blends in the sea water very little microbial degradation was observed in winter but in summer months the weight loss of polyethylene with the MB additive after 20 months reached 26% Not specified Not applicable [29]
6. Biodegradation of low density polyethylene (LDPE) by fungi isolated from marine water– a SEM analysis LPDE in the powdered form Sturm test where the degradation was attributed to the amount of carbon dioxide evolved and SEM analysis. Sea water Per week maximum 4.1594 g/L of CO2 was released after degradation of the polythene Morphological keys Aspergillus versicolor and Aspergillus sp. [51]
7. Biodegradation of low density polythene (LDPE) by Pseudomonas species LDPE films Weight measurements, tensile strength testing, FTIR-ATR spectrophotometer analyses, Scanning Electron Microscope based analyses and GC-MS analyses. Known cultures but source was not specified The highest level of polythene degradation (weight loss) out of the four bacteria was found as 20% by Pseudomonas aeruoginosa after 120 days Not applicable Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 (ATCC 15729), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 15692), Pseudomonas putida (KT2440 ATCC 47054) and Pseudomonas syringae (DC3000 ATCC 10862) [55]
8. Biodegradation of maleated linear low-density polyethylene and starch blends linear lowdensity polyethylene torque blended with starch FTIR spectroscopy, weight loss, SEM, DSC, TGA. Source of the microbes not specified but known cultures were used The starch content in the blend was found directly proportional to the he rate of degradation. Thus, higher the content of starch, higher will be the degree of degradation. Not applicable Aspergillus niger, Penicilliurn funiculosum, Chaetomium globosum, Gliocladiurn virens and Pullularia pullulans [59]
9. Biodegradation of photo-degraded mulching films based on polyethylenes and stearates of calcium and iron as pro-oxidant additives LDPE and LLDPE Chemiluminescence, ATR-FTIR and GCproduct analysis Polythene films were scattered in agricultural vegetable field and after 30 days were used for the isolation of microbes Polythene films 75-85% (containing Fe stearate) and 31-67% ( containing Ca stearate) at 45°C leads to reduction in carbonyl index Molecular level (16S rRNA gene sequencing) Bacillus cereus, B. megaterium, B. subtilis and Brevibacillus borstelensis [53]
10. Biofilm development of the polyethylenedegrading bacterium Rhodococcus ruber Branched low-density (0.92 g cm−3) polyethylene with an average molecular weight of 191,000 Weight loss, SEM analysis and formation of extracellular protein and polysaccharide in biofilm of R. ruber strain C208 on polyethylene Not specified 7.5% of polythene weight loss after eight weeks Not specified Rhodococcus ruber (C208) [54]
11. Colonization, biofilm formation and biodegradation of polyethylene by a strain of Rhodococcus ruber Branched low-density (0.92 g cm−3) polyethylene Average Weight loss, Scanning electron microscopy ATR and FTIR 15 sites at which polyethylene waste from agricultural use (mainly films for soil mulching) had been buried 8% of polyethylene degradation in 4 weeks Molecular level (16S rDNA sequencing) Rhodococcus ruber C208 [60]
12. Comparison of the biodegradability of various polyethylene films containing prooxidant additives HDPE, LDPE and LLDPE with a balanced content of antioxidants and pro-oxidants FTIR, SEC measurements, H NMR spectroscopy and SEM American Type Culture They concluded that the biodegradation is mainly controlled by nature of the pro-oxidant additive and to a lesser extent that of the matrix Known microbe was used Rhodococcus rhodochrous ATCC 29672 [61]
13. Degradation assessment of low density polythene (LDP) and polythene (PP) by an indigenous isolates of Pseudomonas stutzeri Low density polythene and polythene Tensile strength, elongation and percent of extension Plastics and soil from the plastic dumping site After 45 days maximum change in percent extension (73.38% reduction), tensile strength (0.01 N/cm2 and it was similar even after 15 and 30 days) and elongation (1.8cm) of the polythene was recorded Morphological keys and biochemical tests Pseudomonas stutzeri [62]
14. Diversity and effectiveness of tropical mangrove soil microflora on the degradation of polythene carry bags HDPE and LDPE Mean weight Mangrove soil sample from Suva, Fiji Islands Nearly 5 % of weight loss after a period of eight weeks Morphological keys and biochemical tests Bacillus, Micrococcus, Listeria and Vibrio [63]
15. Diversity of cellulolytic microbes and the biodegradation of municipal solid waste by a potential strain Municipal solid waste Weight loss and cellulose enzyme production Municipal solid waste, soil and compost With the potential strain (Trichoderma viride ) out of the 250 isolates (49 cellulolytic) after 60 days, the average weight loss was 20.10% in the plates and 33.35% in the piles Morphological keys and biochemical tests Total 250 isolates (165 belongs to fungi and 85 bacteria) [64]
16. Effect of pH on biodegradation of polythene by Serretia marscence Polythene carry bags Weight loss Polythene dumping site 22.22 % of polythene degradation per month was recorded at pH 4, room temperature with regular shaking Morphological keys and biochemical tests Serretia marscence [65]
17. Effect of prooxidants on biodegradation of polyethylene (LDPE) by indigenous fungal isolate, Aspergillus oryzae LDPE with average molecular weight of 1,80,000 Daltons and 8.7 PDI Weight loss, tensile strength and percentage of elongation, FTIR spectroscopy, SEM analyses Previously reported fungi [59] Maximum 47.2% weight loss, 51% reduction in tensile strength and 62% reduction in percentage of elongation of LDPE (treated with manganese stearate followed by UV irradiation and incubation with A. oryzae for 3 months). Known isolates was used Aspergillus oryzae [46]
18. Enviornmental biodegradation of polyethylene Commercially environmentally degradable polythene Epifluorescence microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy and FTIR spectroscopy American Type culture collection and one was their own isolate After 243 days cross linking and chain scission was observed at higher temperatures leads to reduction in the molecular weight Known cultures were used Rhodococus rhodocorous ATCC 29672, Cladosporium cladosporides ATCC 20251 and Nocardia steroids GK 911 [66]
19. Enzyme-mediated biodegradation of heat treated commercial polyethylene by Staphylococcal species Extruded low-density polyethylene (LDPE) with 20-micron thickness SEM and FT-IR Not specified Organism BP/ SU1 degrading the polyethylene layer and creating holes in it. Different extracellular enzymes were responsible for the degradation of shredded polyethylene Known cultures were used Staphylococcus epidermis [67]
20. High-density polyethylene (HDPE)-degrading potential bacteria from marine ecosystem of Gulf of Mannar, India High-density polyethylene (HDPE) (Commercially available HDPE) Weight loss, percentage of crystallinity and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectrum Partially degraded polyethylene along with soil samples adhering and adjacent to it was collected from 15 plastic waste dumped sites After 30 days of incubation was nearly 12% (Arthrobacter sp.) and 15% (Pseudomonas sp) Not specified Arthrobacter and Pseudomonas sp. [68]
21. Impact of soil composting using municipal solid waste on biodegradation of plastics Polythene carry bags and cups Weight loss and reduction in tensile strength Two types of sources: naturally buried polythene carry bags and cups in municipal composite and polythene strips were intentionally buried in the composite soil along with the solid waste of municipality corporation In compost culture highest percentage of weight loss (11.54%) was recorded in LDPE1 after 12 months whereas highest percent loss in tensile strength was reported with HDPE1 in same time of incubation Both morphological keys and biochemical tests were used Following were predominant bacteria (Bacillus sp., Staphylococcus sp., Streptococuus sp., Diplococcus sp., Micrococcus sp., Pseudomonas sp. and Moraxella sp) and fungi (Aspergillus niger, A. ornatus, A. nidulans, A. cremeus, A. flavus, A. candidus and A. glaucus) found to be associated with degraded polythene bags and cups after 12 month [69]
22. Investigation on biodegradability of polyethylene by Bacillus cereus strain Ma-Su isolated from compost soil LDPE and BPE 10 (10 % oxobiodegeradable additive) Change in tensile strength, percent elongation, FT-IR spectroscopy, Contact angle and surface energy and SEM analyses Municipal compost yard Pre-treated BPE10 after 3 month of incubation with the B. cereus (C1) changes its tensile strength up to 17.036% and 17.4o reduction in Contact angl. Morphological keys, biochemical tests and molecular markers Bacillus cereus (C1) [70]
23. Occurrence and recalcitrance of polyethylene bag waste in Nigerian soils Polyethylene bag wastes (pure water sachets) Percentage of weight loss Soil samples in a refuse dumping site After 8 weeks, only 1.19% weight loss was recorded when treated with 0.5 M HNO3 followed by slight change in the colour Not specified Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas putida, Bacillus subtilis and Aspergillus niger [71]
24. Polymer Biodegradation of disposable polyethylene by fungi and Streptomyces species Disposable plastic films Average weight loss, change in tensile strength and percent elongation Nile River Delta (Streptomyces), Northern Regional Research Laboratory USDA (fungi Mucor rouxii 1835) their own culture collection (Aspergillus flavus) The average reduction in the percent elongation with bacterial and fungal cultures were recorded as 28.5% and 46.5% respectively. This was preliminary report of extracellular enzyme(s) responsible for degrading of attacking degradable polythene (ten days heat treated) Morphological keys Eight Streptomyces strains and two fungi, M. rouxii NRRL 1835 and Aspergillus flavus [48]
25. Polythene and plastics-degrading microbes from the mangrove soil Polythene bags and plastic cups Percentage of weight loss Mangroves rhizosphere soil 20.54 ± 0.13 (Psedumonas sp.) 28.80 ± 2.40 (Aspergillus glaucus) percent of weight loss per month in shaker culture Morphological keys were used Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Micrococcus (Gram +ve), Moraxella, and Pseudomonas (Gram –ve) and two species of fungi (Aspergillus glaucus and A. niger) [72]
26. Polyethylene degradation by lignin-degrading fungi and manganese peroxidase High-molecularweight polyethylene Changes in relative elongation and relative tensile strength (Strograph-R3) and polyethylene molecular weight distribution (Waters model 150 -C) Not specified Relative elongation (91.2 ± 9.0 %) Relative tensile strength (100.0 ± 1.3 %) were recorded using MnP treated with 0.2mM MnSO4 and 50mM acetate. MnP is the key enzyme in polyethylene degradation by lignin-degrading fungi Not specified Phanerochaete chrysosporium ME-446, Trametes versicolor IFO 7043, and IZU-15413 [7]
27. Polyethylene biodegradation by a developed Penicillium– Bacillus biofilm Degradable polyethylene Percent weight loss and emission of CO2 gas chromatography (GC) Different types of polythenes were dumped under soil were used for isolation of microbes after 2-4 years When P. frequentans and B. mycoides were used together Weight loss 7.150 % ( pre-heated at 70°C) and 6.657% (unheated) after 60 days Morphological keys and biochemical tests The most effective fungi and bacteria were Penicillium frequentans and Bacillus mycoides [50]
28. Polythene degradation potential of Aspergillus niger Polythene carry bags Weight loss Polythene dumping site 25% of weight was observed after 8 months with regular shaking Morphological keys Aspergillus niger [73]
29. Production of an extracellular polyethylenedegrading enzyme(s) by Streptomyces species Starch polyethylene prooxidant degradable plastics FTIR spectra, mechanical properties, and polyethylene molecular weight distributions Lignocellulose degrading microbes but source was not specified All three bacterial extracellular enzyme concentrates leads to detectable changes in the degradable plastic as determined by the FT-IR spectrometer and tensile strength (kg/mm2) % elongation strain energy (Kg mm) Known cultures were used Extracellular enzymes of the following microbes such as Streptomyces badius 252, Streptomyces setonii 75Vi2, and Streptomyces viridosporus T7A [35]
30. Screening of polyethylene degrading microorganisms from garbage soil Low density polyethylene powder Weight loss Garbage soil samples (waste disposable site dumped with polythene bag and plastic cup Actinomycetes (Streptomyces KU8) leads to 46.16% weight loss of the polythene whereas bacteria (Pseudomonas sp) and fungi (Aspergillus flavus) degraded only 37.09% and 20.63 % after six months Morphological keys and biochemical tests Streptomyces KU8, Streptomyces KU5, Streptomyces KU1, Streptomyces KU6,Pseudomonas sp., Bacillus sp., Staphylococcus sp., Aspergillus nidulans and A. flavus [74]
31. Studies on biodegradation of polythene Polythene carry bags Weight loss, TLC, GC-MS and FTIR analyses Plastic dumping sites, ARI, Pune and NCL Pune After eight months of regular shaking maximum percentage of weight loss was recorded at room temperature with pH 4 i.e., 50% with fungi (Phanerochaete chrysosporium) and 35% with bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) Morphological keys and Biochemical tests Serratia marcescens 724, Bacillus cereus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa , Streptococus aureus B-324, Micrococcus lylae B-429, Phanerochaete chrysosporiu, Pleurotus ostretus, Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus glaucus [47]
32. Studies on the biodegradation of natural and synthetic polyethylene by Pseudomonas spp Natural polyethylene (6% vegetable starch) and synthetic polyethylene Percentage of weight loss Three sites: 1. Soil from domestic waste disposal site. 2. Soil from textile effluents drainage site and 3. Soil dumped with sewage sludge The highest weight loss percentage of natural polythene (46.2%) and synthetic polythene (29.1%) was reported with Pseudomonas sp. collected from sewage sludge dumping site Morphological keys and biochemical tests Pseudomonas spp. (P1, P2, and P3) [75]
33. Synergistic effect of chemical and photo treatment on the rate of biodegradation of high density polyethylene by indigenous fungal isolates High density polyethylene films of 0.1μm thickness Tensile strength, percentage of elongation, elongation break and FTIR analysis High density polyethylene (HDPE) film buried in soil 3 months and then used as a sources of microbes Aspergillus oryzae leads 72% reduction in percentage of elongation and abiotically treated HDPE film clearly showed generation of carbonyl peak at 1718.32 cm as compare to control Molecular level (16S rDNA sequencing) Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus oryzae [76]
34. Thermally treated low density polyethylene biodegradation by Penicillium pinophilum and Aspergillus niger Powdered LDPE DSC, X-ray diffraction XRD, FTIR and SEM Not specified After 31 months maximum 5% reduction in crystallinity (Aspergillus niger), 11.07% change in crystalline thickness (Pencillium pinophilum), P. pinophilum incubated with and without ethanol showed a higher TOLDPE biodegradation efficiency than did A. niger. Mineralization was also higher for P. pinophilum with the addition of ethanol Not specified Penicillium pinophilum and Aspergillus niger [52]
Table 1: The major consequences in the biodegradation of polythene.