Exploring Microorganisms from Plastic-Polluted Sites: Unveiling Plastic Degradation and PHA Production Potential

Diana A. Garza Herrera , Marija Mojicevic, Brana Pantelic, Akanksha Joshi, Catherine Collins, Maria Batista, Cristiana Torres, Filomena Freitas, Patrick Murray , Jasmina Nikodinovic-Runic, Margaret Brennan Fournet

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Abstract

The exposure of microorganisms to conventional plastics is a relatively recent occurrence, affording limited time for evolutionary adaptation. As part of the EU-funded project BioICEP, this study delves into the plastic degradation potential of microorganisms isolated from sites with prolonged plastic pollution, such as plastic-polluted forests, biopolymer-contaminated soil, oil-contaminated soil, municipal landfill, but also a distinctive soil sample with plastic pieces buried three decades ago. Additionally, samples from Arthropoda species were investigated. In total, 150 strains were isolated and screened for the ability to use plastic-related substrates (Impranil dispersions, polyethylene terephthalate, terephthalic acid, and bis(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate). Twenty isolates selected based on their ability to grow on various substrates were identified as Streptomyces, Bacillus, Enterococcus, and Pseudomonas spp. Morphological features were recorded, and the 16S rRNA sequence was employed to construct a phylogenetic tree. Subsequent assessments unveiled that 5 out of the 20 strains displayed the capability to produce polyhydroxyalkanoates, utilizing pre-treated post-consumer PET samples. With Priestia sp. DG69 and Neobacillus sp. DG40 emerging as the most successful producers (4.14% and 3.34% of PHA, respectively), these strains are poised for further utilization in upcycling purposes, laying the foundation for the development of sustainable strategies for plastic waste management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2914
Number of pages21
JournalMicroorganisms
Volume11
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • biopolymers
  • plastic degradation
  • polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • screening
  • upcycling

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