Polyethylene Degradation by Fungal Consortium

Document Type: Original Research Paper

Authors

1 Kuvempu University, India

2 Davangere University, India

Abstract

Polyethylene is a synthetic polymer which is used in our daily life for different purposes. Increased use of polyethylene causes severe environmental problems. There are different methods to decrease problem caused by polyethylene for example source reduction, incineration and land filling and all of them have their own drawbacks. So, the best way to reduce the problem caused by polyethylene is its biodegradation. In our work we isolated, Curvularia lunata, Alternaria alternata, Penicillium simplicissimum and Fusarium sp. from local dumpsites of Shivamogga Dist. Degradation experiment was carried out using surface sterilized polyethylene for a period of 3 months and degradation was confirmed by weight loss, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy studies. Individual weight loss shown by Curvularia lunata (1.2%), Alternaria alternata (0.8%), Penicillium simplicissimum (7.7%) and Fusarium sp. (0.7%) was less compared to their combination (27%). Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy results confirmed degradation. Enzymes responsible for polyethylene degradation were also screened and were identified as laccase and manganese peroxidase. So, the results confirm the significant role of consortium in polyethylene degradation compared to single microorganisms. Microbial consortium can be used to solve problem caused by polyethylene in the environment and it is also eco friendly method without any side effects.

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