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Biodegradation of thermally treated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) by Klebsiella pneumoniae CH001

Abstract

Biodegradation of plastics, which are the potential source of environmental pollution, has received a great deal of attention in the recent years. We aim to screen, identify, and characterize a bacterial strain capable of degrading high-density polyethylene (HDPE). In the present study, we studied HDPE biodegradation using a laboratory isolate, which was identified as Klebsiella pneumoniae CH001 (Accession No MF399051). The HDPE film was characterized by Universal Tensile Machine (UTM), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) before and after microbial incubation. We observed that this strain was capable of adhering strongly on HDPE surface and form a thick biofilm, when incubated in nutrient broth at 30 °C on 120 rpm for 60 days. UTM analysis showed a significant decrease in weight (18.4%) and reduction in tensile strength (60%) of HDPE film. Furthermore, SEM analysis showed the cracks on the HDPE surface, whereas AFM results showed an increase in surface roughness after bacterial incubation. Overall, these results indicate that K. pneumoniae CH001 can be used as potential candidate for HDPE degradation in eco-friendly and sustainable manner in the environment.

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Acknowledgements

Shraddha Awasthi gratefully acknowledges the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) through Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University), Varanasi, India for financial support.

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Correspondence to Shraddha Awasthi.

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Awasthi, S., Srivastava, P., Singh, P. et al. Biodegradation of thermally treated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) by Klebsiella pneumoniae CH001. 3 Biotech 7, 332 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13205-017-0959-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13205-017-0959-3

Keywords

  • Plastic
  • High-density polyethylene
  • Eco-friendly
  • Sustainable
  • Biodegradation
  • Klebsiella Pneumoniae