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Title: Biodegradation of polyethylene via complete solubilization by the action of Pseudomonas fluorescens, biosurfactant produced by Bacillus licheniformis and anionic surfactant
Authors: Mukherjee S.
RoyChaudhuri U.
Kundu, Patit Paban
Published in: Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Long hydrocarbon (?CH2) chain, absence of polar bonds and highly hydrophobic nature of polyethylene, make it one of most difficult environmental pollutants to degrade. In the present study, commercially available polyethylenes were treated with biosurfactant produced by Bacillus licheniformis, anionic surfactant and bacterially treated with Pseudomonas fluorescens in different combinations to achieve higher biodegradation. RESULTS: Polyethylene was slightly oxidized by P. fluorescens in the first month and the oxidation of polyethylene induced by the biosurfactant during the second month was enhanced by the presence of lower amounts of carbonyl groups as observed in FTIR analysis. During the third month, highly oxidized polyethylene was entirely solubilized by the action of 10% SDS forming two-layered liquid consisting of yellow oil-like liquid as upper layer and an aqueous colourless lower layer. Biodegradable aliphatic acids, alcohols and short hydrocarbon molecules of 10–30 carbon chains were identified by GC–MS analysis in the aqueous solution. Weight loss of 7.13 ± 0.05% was also observed in polyethylene samples which were treated with SDS in the first month, then bacterially treated with P. fluorescens in the second month and finally treated with biosurfactant in the third month. CONCLUSIONS: Polyethylene became biodegradable after complete solubilization in water by treating consecutively with Pseudomonas fluorescens in the first month, then with biosurfactant in the second month and finally treating with 10% sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) at 60 °C for the third month. Simultaneous treatment of polyethylene with P. fluorescens, surfactant and biosurfactant has a tremendous effect on the oxidation and biodegradation of polyethylene. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry
Citation: Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology (2018), 93(5): 1300-1311
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Keywords: biodegradation
ISSN: 2682575
Author Scopus IDs: 56092079800
Author Affiliations: Mukherjee, S., Department of Polymer Science and Technology, University of CalcuttaWest Bengal, India
RoyChaudhuri, U., Department of Chemical Technology, University of CalcuttaWest Bengal, India
Kundu, P.P., Department of Polymer Science and Technology, University of CalcuttaWest Bengal, India, Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India
Funding Details: Shritama Mukherjee is grateful to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India for providing senior research fellowship for conducting this research. Thanks to the Central Instrumentation Laboratory, Panjab University, India for providing GC–MS analysis of polyethylene samples. The authors also thank the Department of Physics, University of Calcutta for providing the XRD measurement facility, procured under DST-PURSE program.;Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Corresponding Author: Kundu, P.P.; Department of Polymer Science and Technology, University of CalcuttaIndia; email:
Appears in Collections:Journal Publications [CH]

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