Evaluation Of Low Density Polyethylene Degradation By Bacteria Isolated From Hydrocarbon Contaminated Site

IJEP 41(1): 3-10 : Vol. 41 Issue. 1 (January 2021)

Shailja Singh 1, Vishal Singh Chowdhary1, Devendra Pratap Singh1, Shiv Shankar2 and Shikha1

1. Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Department of Environmental Science, School of Earth and Environ mental Sciences, Lucknow – 226 025, U.P., India
2. Gautam Buddha University, Department of Environmental Science, School of Vocational Studies and Applied Sciences, Gautam Buddh Nagar – 201 312, U.P., India


Indiscriminate use and inertness of synthetic polymers leading to increased water and land pollution are of great concern. Many attempts have been made to control the problem by using both chemical and biological methods. Chemical methods resulted in an increase in pollution by releasing noxious gases in the atmosphere whereas biological methods have been proved to be eco-friendly. The current study demonstrates the isolation, characterization and biodegradation analysis of the low-density polyethylene (LDPE) films by the isolated bacteria. Various techniques were used to determine the changes induced in the polyethylene sheet after treatment with bacteria. Gradual reduction, in the weight of degraded LDPE with time, signifies the utilization of polymer by bacteria for nutrients and energy. Analysis through scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of the degraded LDPE films showed morphological damage, like cracks, extensive roughening, fragileness and fragmentations on the surface of the LDPE sheets confirming that degradation had occurred by the action of bacterial isolates. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis of the degraded LDPE films, showed the presence of alcohols, alkenes, alkanes, amines being produced after 90 days, indicating that degradation had been carried out successfully. Energy dispersive x-ray study revealed the decrease in carbon content which shows that the carbon has been utilized by bacteria for their growth. Hence, the two potential bacterial strains isolated in the present study can be said to be plastic degrading microorganisms.


Low-density polyethylene, Scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transforms spectroscopy, Biodegradation, Pollution


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