Plastics are man-made long polymeric chain made up of more than 30 molecules. They are widely used, economical materials characterized by excellent all-round properties, easy moulding and manufacturing. Polyolefin derived plastics such as polyethylene are currently used in plastic films for garbage bags, mulching and compost bags. These plastics are characteristically inert and resistant to microbial attack and therefore they remain in the nature without any deformation for very long time. There are so many polymers which are not eco-friendly, some of them are following: Nylon 6, LDPE (Low density polyethylene), HIPS (high intensity polystyrene) and HDPE (High density polyethylene).
Comparative biodegradation of synthetic polymers using White rot fungi
J. Arun kumar, Ph.D. Student
White rot fungi are basidiomycetes that are capable of degrading a lignocellulose substrate. Three types of extracellular enzymes are produced by white rot fungi that are non-selective yet effective in attacking lignin. These are often referred to as Manganese-Dependent Peroxidase (MnP) and Laccase (Lac) and they are Lignin Peroxidase (LiP). Enumeration of biodegradation done by visual observation, UTM (Universal Testing Machine) tensile tester, FTIR ANALYSIS and SEM (Scanning electron microscopy). By the above analysis we concluded that Upto 66% of Nylon 6, 58% of low density polyethylene, 71% of HIPS (High intensity polystyrene) degraded by environmental isolates of PleurotusSpwithin 6 months. commercial products are more degraded than the natural unfilled polymers. It might be because the Nylon filter, LDPE polythene and HIPS glass have more surface area for the attachment of fungal mycelium than their corresponding beads.
Currently working on specificity of each enzyme (Lignin Peroxidase, Manganese Peroxidase and laccase) in degradation of polymers.