Biosci. Biotech. Res. Comm. 6(2): 199-201 (2013)

Biodegradation of pre treated polythene by different species of Aspergillus isolated from garbage soil

Rupa Guha Nandi* and Mamta Joshi

Department of Biotechnology, Sri Sathya Sai College for Women, Bhopal, India


Polythene is most problematic plastic waste which is an increasing ecological threat, as it is a polyethylene are stable polymers and can not easily degraded. In the present investigation an attempt has been made to study the biodegradation of polythene in control laboratory conditions. Different species of fungi were isolated from soil of Municipal Garbage. During the time of investigation microorganisms associated with polythene were identified. They were found to utilize the polythene as source of carbon resulting into its degradation. The microbial species found associated with the degrading materials were identified after staining them with cotton blue. Efficacy of the microbial species in degradation of polythene was analyzed in shaker cultures in the laboratory. Biodegradation comparative studies were done between pretreated and untreated polythene. Polythene discs were irradiated by UV at 254 nm wavelength and then incubated with 99.0% of nitric acid. This pretreated discs were then treated with microbial culture and untreated discs were also given microbial treatment to observe microbial biodegradation. Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus flavus started the degrading of polythene in 2-4 months by 19-24%.



Polythene being xenobiotic is greatly resistant to degradat- ion. This is recognized as a major threat to land and aquatic life both. Degradation of polythene is a great challenge for researchers. Biodegradation is the natural way to resolve this threat. The ability of microorganisms to degrade extracellular polymer depends on the secretion of specific depolymeras-es that hydrolyze the polymer to water soluble products (Sharma and Sharma, 2003; Hasan et al., 2007; Tokiwa et al., 2009).

The coastal mangroves have historically been favored dumping sites for the solid waste disposal (Kathiresan and Bingham, 2001). Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi


*Corresponding Author Received 15th October, 2013

Accepted after revision 30th December, 2013 BBRC Print ISSN: 0974-6455

Online ISSN: 2321-4007

©A Society of Science and Nature Publication, 2013. All rights reserved.

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are involved in the degradation of both natural and synthetic plastic (Gu et al., 2000, Lee et al., 1991) have reported the biodegradation of degradable plastic polyethylene by phanero- chaete and Streptomyces species.

During degradation process exo-enzymes from microorgan- isms breakdown complex polymers yielding small molecules of short chain e.g. oligomers, dimers and monomers and then to be utilized as carbon and energy source. The process is called De-polymerization. When the end products are CO2, H2O or Ch4, the degradation is called mineralization (Frazer,1994). Biodeg- radation of plastic by microorgan-ism and enzyme seems to be the most effective process (Tokiwa et al., 2009).

The initial breakdown of a polymers can result from a vari- ety of physical and biological forces (Swift, 1997). Physical forces such as heating and drying can cause mechanical dam- age such as the cracking of polymeric materials (Kamal and Huang, 1992).


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From the data collected, weight loss of polythene bags, was calculated and is shown in Table 1. This reveals that among microbes two fungi A. flavus and A. niger are efficient in biodegradation. Degradation seen ranged between 24.82 to

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