FIRST REPORT ON BIODEGRADATION OF LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLENE BY RICE MOTH LARVAE, Corcyra cephalonica (STAINTON)
Sheetal Suresh Kesti*, Shivasharana Chandrabanda Thimmappa*
* Karnatak University, Department of Studies in Biotechnology and Microbiology, Dharwad, Karnataka, India
Corcyra cephalonica (Stainton), rice moth larvae were used for biodegradation of low density polyethylene (LDPE). The role of larval gut microorganisms in LDPE biodegradation was studied by force feeding the larvae with a cocktail of antibiotic solution. After force feeding, the larvae were left in contact with LDPE films. Larvae which were unfed with antibiotic solution were used as controls. Degradation rate was checked by measuring the weight loss after 20 day period of contact with LDPE films in insect rearing bottles. The DNA of both antibiotic fed and unfed larvae was isolated. There was no DNA band of antibiotic fed larvae which indicated the gut microorganisms were eliminated. Larvae fed with antibiotic digested 21 % and those which were unfed with antibiotic showed 25 % weight loss of LDPE films. We report the gut microorganisms were not solely responsible for biodegradation of LDPE. The digestive enzymes could also play a major role in digesting the plastic in insect’s gut.
Keywords: Corcyra cephalonica, rice moth larvae, low density polyethylene, antibiotic
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