APPLICATION OF LACCASE PRODUCED BY MARINE ACTINOMYCETES IN ACCELERATING THE RATE OF BIODEGRADATION OF POLYETHYLENE
Dhanashree Bhelose*, Nagesh Malik*
* Vivekanand Education Society’s College of Arts, Science & Commerce, Department of Microbiology, Chembur, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Although plastic is very useful in modern life, its widespread use could impair human sustainability. Improper plastic waste management generates greenhouse gases and harmful waste. Plastics and its associated by-products, such as microplastics, accumulate on land and in the oceans causing harm to human and ecological health. An environmentally friendly solution, such as enzymes-mediated biocatalytic depolymerization, is required for efficient management of the large amount of waste generated around the world. Actinomycetes are less explored for commercial biodegradation processes but have attracted attention since they constitute a significant proportion of the soil and aquatic flora and because of their ability to degrade complex materials. This study involves identification of laccase-producing marine actinomycetes and examining the possibility of accelerating the rate of biodegradation of polyethylene by treating with laccase enzyme. The polyethylene test material treated with laccase enzyme for 30 days shows 9.36 percent rate of biodegradation, which was six times higher than the rate of biodegradation of an untreated one. The change in the chemical structure of the polyethylene was studied using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. After treatment with laccase enzyme, the carbonyl index of the polyethylene test material increased to 1.25 indicating that the polymer was oxidized, and post biodegradation study showed that the carbonyl index decreased to 0.66 which confirms the concept that oxidized polymer was utilized by the microorganisms. The laccase-producing isolate A-09 showed 99 percent identity as Streptomyces rubiginosus based on molecular fingerprinting.
Keywords: actinomycetes, biodegradation, carbonyl index, environmentally friendly solution, laccase enzyme, microplastics, plastic waste, polyethylene, sustainability, Streptomyces
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