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Isolation of a soil bacterium for remediation of polyurethane and low-density polyethylene: a promising tool towards sustainable cleanup of the environment
R. Roy, G. Mukherjee, A. Das Gupta, P. Tribedi,
Published in Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Volume: 11
Issue: 1
A soil bacterium, designated strain AKS31, was isolated on the plastic polyurethane (PUR) and based on the molecular and biochemical analysis was tentatively assigned to the genus Pseudomonas. Preliminary studies suggested that strain AKS31 had the capability of biodegrading polyurethane (PUR) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE). This observation was confirmed by the analysis of the biodegradation products. The hydrolyzed products of PUR analyzed sequentially by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) showed the presence of diethylene glycol suggesting the presence of an esterase. A gene that could be involved in producing an esterase-like activity (PURase gene) was identified after the amplification and sequencing of a PCR product. Fourier Transformed Infrared (FTIR) spectrophotometric analysis of AKS31-treated LDPE film revealed the incorporation of hydroxyl groups suggesting the involvement of a hydroxylase in the degradation of LDPE. It is established that plastics form microplastics and microbeads in soils which negatively impact the health of living organisms and there have been concentrated research efforts to remediate this problem. Microcosm studies revealed that when strain AKS31 was bioaugmented with soil both the polymers were degraded during which time the heterotrophic plate counts, soil respiration and soil organic carbon content increased but this was not the case with the control nonbioaugmented microcosm. The results demonstrate that the strain AKS31 may have the potential in biodegradation of PUR and LPDE present as plastic microbeads and thereby improving soil health. Further studies in this direction are warranted. © 2021, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.
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