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Microbiology and Biotechnology Letters

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Environmental Microbiology  |  Biodegradation and Bioremediation

Microbiol. Biotechnol. Lett.

Received: April 4, 2024; Revised: May 21, 2024

Biodegradation of low-density polyethylene by Acinetobacter guillouiae PL211 isolated from the waste treatment facility

Ye-Jin Kim 1, 2, 3, Jang-Sub Lee 1, 2, 3, Jeong-Ann Park 4, Hyun-Ouk Kim 1, 2, Kwang Suk Lim 1, 2 and Suk Jin Ha 1, 2, 3*

1Department of Bioengineering and Technology, Kangwon National University, 2Department of Biohealth-machinery convergence engineering, Kangwon National University, 3Institute of Fermentation and Brewing, Kangwon National University, 4Department of Environmental Engineering, Kangwon National University

Correspondence to :
Suk Jin Ha, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Republic of Korea [24341]
Tel : 82 33-250-6278, Fax : 82 33-243-6350, E-mail : sjha@kangwon.ac.kr

Abstract

Plastics are consistently produced owing to their practicality and convenience. Unmanaged plastics enter the oceans, where they adversely impact marine life, and their degradation into nano-plastics due to sunlight and weathering is of concern for all living beings. Nano-plastics affect humans via the food chain, emphasizing the need for effective solutions. Microbial biodegradation has been suggested as a solution, offering the advantages of minimal environmental impact and the utilization of decomposition byproducts in microbial metabolic pathways. In this study, fifty-seven bacterial strains were isolated and identified from a waste-treatment facility. Incubation in a minimal salt medium with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) beads as the sole carbon source resulted in the selection of the LDPE-degrading strain Acinetobacter guillouiae PL211. The selected strain was cultured at high cell density with LDPE as a carbon source, and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) analysis revealed chemical changes on the LDPE bead’s surface. Field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) analysis confirmed substantial biodegradation of the LDPE surface. These results demonstrated the capability of Acinetobacter guillouiae PL211 to biodegrade LDPE beads. This discovery demonstrates the potential of an environmentally friendly approach to addressing polyethylene waste issues.

Keywords: Low-density polyethylene, Biodegradation, Acinetobacter guillouiae, FE-SEM, FT-IR

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