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Accelerating the Biodegradation of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Using Bjerkandera adusta TBB-03 and Lignocellulose Substrates


Accelerating the Biodegradation of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Using Bjerkandera adusta TBB-03 and Lignocellulose Substrates

Bo Ram Kang et al. Microorganisms.


High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a widely used organic polymer and an emerging pollutant, because it is very stable and nonbiodegradable. Several fungal species that produce delignifying enzymes are known to be promising degraders of recalcitrant polymers, but research on the decomposition of plastics is scarce. In this study, white rot fungus, Bjerkandera adusta TBB-03, was isolated and characterized for its ability to degrade HDPE under lignocellulose substrate treatment. Ash (Fraxinus rhynchophylla) wood chips were found to stimulate laccase production (activity was > 210 U/L after 10 days of cultivation), and subsequently used for HDPE degradation assay. After 90 days, cracks formed on the surface of HDPE samples treated with TBB-03 and ash wood chips in both liquid and solid states. Raman analysis showed that the amorphous structure of HDPE was degraded by enzymes produced by TBB-03. Overall, TBB-03 is a promising resource for the biodegradation of HDPE, and this work sheds light on further applications for fungus-based plastic degradation systems.

Keywords: Bjerkandera adusta; Raman spectroscopy; Scanning electron microscopy; high-density polyethylene (HDPE); laccase.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Phylogenetic tree for TBB-03 and related strains based on internal transcribed spacer (ITS) gene sequences. Phylogeny of TBB-03 generated from neighbor-joining analysis of ITS sequences. The scale bar corresponds to 0.05 substitutions per nucleotide position.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Laccase activity in culture supernatant incubated with various lignocellulose substrates. Ash, mesquite, fir, hickory, and oak were tested at 20 g L−1 as sole carbon sources for laccase production. Significant differences at p < 0.05 between the laccase activity were calculated using Duncan’s multiple range test.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Discrimination of the control and treated HDPE after 90 days of treatment with the fungal isolate TBB-03. (A) represents the Raman spectra of each condition. Raman spectra were collected from 10 different locations, and an averaged spectrum was used for the analysis. Relative intensity plots of peaks at (B) 1130 cm−1, (C) 1416 cm−1, and (D) 2858 cm−1. Significant differences at p < 0.05 between peaks were calculated using Duncan’s multiple range test.
Figure 4
Figure 4
SEM micrographs of control and treated HDPE samples at 10,000× magnification. (A) Control, (B) malt extract medium (ME), (C) liquid medium (LM), and (D) solid-state fermentation (SSF).

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