Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 186, Issue 10, pp 6577–6586 | Cite as

Degradation of polyethylene by Trichoderma harzianum—SEM, FTIR, and NMR analyses

  • H. V. Sowmya
  • Ramalingappa
  • M. Krishnappa
  • B. Thippeswamy


Trichoderma harzianum was isolated from local dumpsites of Shivamogga District for use in the biodegradation of polyethylene. Soil sample of that dumpsite was used for isolation of T. harzianum. Degradation was carried out using autoclaved, UV-treated, and surface-sterilized polyethylene. Degradation was monitored by observing weight loss and changes in physical structure by scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. T. harzianum was able to degrade treated polyethylene (40 %) more efficiently than autoclaved (23 %) and surface-sterilized polyethylene (13 %). Enzymes responsible for polyethylene degradation were screened from T. harzianum and were identified as laccase and manganese peroxidase. These enzymes were produced in large amount, and their activity was calculated using spectrophotometric method and crude extraction of enzymes was carried out. Molecular weight of laccase was determined as 88 kDa and that of manganese peroxidase was 55 kDa. The capacity of crude enzymes to degrade polyethylene was also determined. By observing these results, we can conclude that this organism may act as solution for the problem caused by polyethylene in nature.


Polyethylene Trichoderma harzianum Laccase Manganese peroxidase Biodegradation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. V. Sowmya
    • 1
  • Ramalingappa
    • 2
  • M. Krishnappa
    • 3
  • B. Thippeswamy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of P.G. Studies and Research in Microbiology, Bioscience ComplexKuvempu UniversityShivamogga (District)India
  2. 2.Department of P.G. Studies and Research in MicrobiologyDavanagere UniversityDavanagereIndia
  3. 3.Department of P.G. Studies and Research in Applied Botany, Bioscience complexKuvempu UniversityShivamogga (District)India

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