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International Research Journal of Microbiology

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Investigation on biodegradability of polyethylene by Bacillus cereus strain Ma-Su isolated from compost soil.

Abstract

B. Suresh *, S. Maruthamuthu , N. Palanisamy, R. Ragunathan , K. Navaneetha Pandiyaraj ,V.S. Muralidharan .

The biodegradation of polyethylene and oxo-biodegradable polyethylene films were studied using the isolate. The abiotic degradation of polyethylene films were first performed with photo-oxidation and thermo-oxidation as a pre-treatment. The biotic degradation was carried out by inoculating the pure culture of Bacillus cereus Ma-Su CECRI-1 (C1) in minimal medium containing polyethylene films and monitors its degradation. The changes in mechanical properties were monitored by tensile strength and percentage elongation at break. The chemical changes were recorded by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. It has been found that the initial abiotic treatment initiates the chain session of polymer, where it enables the microbe to utilise polyethylene. The surface wettability studies showed the presence of polar groups on the surface by which it increases the surface energy by lowering the contact angle and makes the polymer surface as hydrophilic. The growth rate of bacteria in different samples has shown that Bacillus cereus (C1) is able to utilize the low molecular weight polyethylene factions produced after the abiotic oxidation. The decrease in carbonyl groups, which indicates the concentration of carbonyl compounds with time, indicates the progress of biodegradation. The biodegradation of polymer for about a 3 month period was also examined.

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