Inderscience Publishers

Comparative in situ PET biodegradation assay using indigenously developed consortia

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A soil burial test was carried out to evaluate the biodegradation of polyethylene terephthalate under natural environment for a period of six months in presence of three different indigenously developed bacterial consortia. These consortia comprised of potential polymer-degrading bacterial cultures isolated from various waste disposal sites. The comparative biodegradation of PET samples in presence and absence of used consortia was monitored through Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). FTIR analysis implies structural changes in biodegraded PET samples unlike the control. The biodegradation is further substantiated by SEM which manifested the development of fissures and a sign of significant erosions which were progressive with the incubation time. Moreover, the DSC showed lowering of melting temperature (T
m
) and heat of fusion (ΔH
f
) of biodegraded film samples suggesting their increased brittleness.

Keywords: PET, In situ biodegradation, consortium, differential scanning calorimetry, DSC, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, FTIR, Scanning Electron Microscopy, SEM

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