Plastic can be decomposed

DECCAN CHRONICLE | J. UMAMAHESWARA RAO
Published Dec 18, 2015, 7:50 am IST
Updated Mar 26, 2019, 5:00 pm IST
Researcher degrades 40 per cent of plastic items in two months.
Ambica Devi
 Ambica Devi

Visakhapatnam: Raising hopes of a possible solution to the menace of polythene, Dr Ambica Devi, a Vizag-based research scholar, has isolated a bacterial strain from sea water which degrades polythene bags by 40 per cent in just two months.

It takes several decades for polythene bags to completely degrade, and they leach harmful chemicals into the soil.

Besides, animals injest polythene bags while feeding and die.

Speaking to DC, Dr Devi, explained, “Polythene waste has become ubiquitous in India, posing a serious threat to humankind as well as marine life and other living organisms. That’s why, I picked this up project to find a solution to the plastic problem. Finally, I succeeded in coming up with an answer.”

Dr Devi earlier worked as a scientist in Andhra University before she was selected by the Vizag Steel Plant as a junior manager in the microbiology department.

“The isolated bacterial strain was identified by the Institute of Microbial Technology based in Chandigarh as a unique strain used for bio-degradation of polythene, namely Achromobacter denitrificans strain S1. They have allotted an accession number for further studies,” Ms Devi added.

When the bacterial strain was applied on the effluents from the Vizag steel plant, it drastically reduced the toxin levels such as cyanides and phenols. “Mutation of this strain has resulted in higher degradation of plastic than the wild strain. I hope further studies on this bacterium can help speed up the plastic degradation and show better ways to tackle the problem,” Dr Devi said.

She was awarded a PhD for this project by Andhra University.
 

 

 

 

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Location: Andhra Pradesh




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