Microbiological Investigation on Some Biodegradable Plastics used as Packaging Materials

Authors

  • Rosemary M. Gutierrez Department of Biology College of Science University of the Philippines Baguio
  • Socorro Martha Meg-ay V. Daupan
  • Ann Ville Fabian
  • Cindy Cristel Miclat

Keywords:

Biodegradation, Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Oxo-biodegradable Plastic (OBD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

Abstract

In the past several years, many biodegradable plastics have been introduced in the commercial market because ordinary, non-biodegradable plastics are known to be recalcitrant to microbial attack. When these types of plastics accumulate  in our environment, it is the primary source of  water and land pollution and other environmental problems like spread of diseases and flooding.   The degrading abilities of two bacterial species, Cellulomonas flavigena and Arthrobacter luteus and the white rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium were investigated in the laboratory by incubating strips of biodegradable plastics with pure bacterial cultures in  petri dishes and determining their  weight loss through time. Soil burial tests were also undertaken for three types of biodegradable plastics to investigate on the degrading abilities of the natural soil microflora for  up to 90 days.  Interestingly, the  white fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium, was  able to degrade the ordinary non-biodegradable low density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic at a greater rate, as indicated by  a higher percent weight loss as compared to the weight loss of  the oxo-biodegradable plastic (OBD). Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) analyses of the two types  of plastics incubated with pure cultures of P. chrysosporium  showed signs of degradation like holes, cracks, striations and flakes on the surfaces of LDPE and OBD.  Pure cultures of microorganisms used in this study are known to possess enzymes like amylases, cellulases,  peroxidases, laccases and other ligninolytic enzymes that support a wide range  of degradation of several aromatic compounds which might be responsible for the degradation of plastics observed in this study.

Author Biography

Rosemary M. Gutierrez, Department of Biology College of Science University of the Philippines Baguio

Department of Biology/Associate Professor of Biology

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Published

2015-02-15

How to Cite

Gutierrez, R. M., Meg-ay V. Daupan, S. M., Fabian, A. V., & Miclat, C. C. (2015). Microbiological Investigation on Some Biodegradable Plastics used as Packaging Materials. Asian Journal of Applied Sciences, 3(1). Retrieved from https://www.ajouronline.com/index.php/AJAS/article/view/2153

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