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Bioaugmentation of polyethylene succinate-contaminated soil with Pseudomonas sp. AKS2 results in increased microbial activity and better polymer degradation

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Pseudomonas sp. AKS2 isolated from soil degrades polyethylene succinate (PES) efficiently in the laboratory. However, this organism may not be able to degrade PES with similar efficiency in a natural habitat. Since in situ remediation is preferred for the effective removal of recalcitrant materials like plastic, in the current study, bioaugmentation potential of this organism was investigated. To investigate the potential of the AKS2 strain to bioaugment the PES-contaminated soil, a microcosm-based study was carried out wherein naturally attenuated, biostimulated, and AKS2-inoculated (bioaugmented) soil samples were examined for their ability to degrade PES. The results showed better degradation of PES by bioaugmented soil than other microcosms. Consistent with it, a higher number of PES-degrading organisms were found in the bioaugmented microcosm. The bioaugmented microcosm also exhibited a higher level of average well color development in BiOLOG ECO plate assay than the other two. The corresponding Shannon–Weaver index and Gini coefficient revealed a higher soil microbial diversity of bioaugmented microcosm than the others. This was further supported by community-level physiological profile of three different microcosms wherein we have observed better utilization of different carbon sources by bioaugmented microcosms. Collectively, these results demonstrate that bioaugmentation of PES-contaminated soil with AKS2 not only enhances polymer degradation but also increases microbial diversity. Bioaugmentation of soil with AKS2 enhances PES degradation without causing damage to soil ecology. Thus, Pseudomonas sp. AKS2 has the potential to be implemented as a useful tool for in situ bioremediation of PES.

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The authors would like to thank Dr. Srimonti Sarkar for her helpful comments and valuable discussions during the tenure of the work. PT is supported by CSIR-Senior Research Fellowship, Government of India. This work is supported partly by a grant-in-aid for scientific research from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of West Bengal, India.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Alok K. Sil.

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Responsible editor: Robert Duran

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Tribedi, P., Sil, A.K. Bioaugmentation of polyethylene succinate-contaminated soil with Pseudomonas sp. AKS2 results in increased microbial activity and better polymer degradation. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20, 1318–1326 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-012-1080-0

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  • PES
  • Bioremediation
  • Bioaugmentation
  • Pseudomonas