Biodegradation of UV light treated plastic waste using local bacterial isolates

Document Type : Original Research Paper


Environment and Water Directorate, Ministry of Science and Technology, P.O. Box.7943, Baghdad, Iraq


Environmental threats from the accumulation of plastic trash are getting worse.  It is robust, lightweight, corrosion-resistant, affordable, and durable. Microorganisms play a significant role in protecting our environment by degrading plastic wastes that are harmful either naturally or by chemical modification.  The current study aims to investigate the biodegradation of synthetic polyethylene through the utilization of a laboratory bioreactor. Various types of additives were introduced to the soil samples before subjecting them to a 30-day UV treatment. The degradation of polyethylene was shown through a reduction in weight following a 24-week incubation period with certain bacterial strains. Experimental findings have revealed that models subjected to UV radiation exhibit the highest degree of vulnerability and degradation. Approximately 52% of polyethylene (PE) films underwent degradation when exposed to soil enhanced with peat moss. In contrast, only 40% and 45% of PE films were destroyed when subjected to garden soil that was untreated and treated with UV radiation, respectively. In contrast, the addition of husk resulted in a 48% to 53% reduction in weight for PE films that were buried for the same duration of the experiment.  The highest level of effectiveness was achieved by the disintegration of the plastic material that was introduced into the soil along with organic fertilizers, resulting in a value of 56.60%. The weight loss outcomes have been substantiated by the utilization of the Atomic Force Electron Microscope (AFM) images, which exhibited the highest magnitude in the experimental model using soil supplemented with fertilizers.


Main Subjects

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