Author(s): Lee B, Pometto AL, Fratzke A, Bailey TB
Abstract Share this page
Abstract The ability of lignin-degrading microorganisms to attack degradable plastics was investigated in pure shake flask culture studies. The degradable plastic used in this study was produced commercially by using the Archer-Daniels-Midland POLYCLEAN masterbatch and contained pro-oxidant and 6\% starch. The known lignin-degrading bacteria Streptomyces viridosporus T7A, S. badius 252, and S. setonii 75Vi2 and fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium were used. Pro-oxidant activity was accelerated by placing a sheet of plastic into a drying oven at 70 degrees C under atmospheric pressure and air for 0, 4, 8, 12, 16, or 20 days. The effect of 2-, 4-, and 8-week longwave UV irradiation at 365 nm on plastic biodegradability was also investigated. For shake flask cultures, plastics were chemically disinfected and incubated-shaken at 125 rpm at 37 degrees C in 0.6\% yeast extract medium (pH 7.1) for Streptomyces spp. and at 30 degrees C for the fungus in 3\% malt extract medium (pH 4.5) for 4 weeks along with an uninoculated control for each treatment. Weight loss data were inconclusive because of cell mass accumulation. For almost every 70 degrees C heat-treated film, the Streptomyces spp. demonstrated a further reduction in percent elongation and polyethylene molecular weight average when compared with the corresponding uninoculated control. Significant (P < 0.05) reductions were demonstrated for the 4- and 8-day heat-treated films by all three bacteria. Heat-treated films incubated with P. chrysosporium consistently demonstrated higher percent elongation and molecular weight average than the corresponding uninoculated controls, but were lower than the corresponding zero controls (heat-treated films without 4-week incubation). The 2- and 4-week UV-treated films showed the greatest biodegradation by all three bacteria. Virtually no degradation by the fungus was observed. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating bacterial degradation of these oxidized polyethylenes in pure culture.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Industrial Engineering & Management