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Hello my name is christina brankman and i’m going to talk about the biodegradation of polyethylene by insects and their gut microbiota polyethylene also known as pe is a polymeric material made from ethene it is a synthetic organic polymer and the most common petroleum-based plastic it is known for having excellent mechanical properties being cost effective and

Durable there are two types of pe which are ldp or low density pe and hdpe which is high density pe hdpe has elevated proportion and ldpe contains long and short irregular branches polyethylene is the number one plastic used for various everyday items such as drink bottles carrying bags for groceries clothes wrappers for food materials shampoo bottles toys industrial

Products building materials etc ldpe is typically used to create plastic bags since its low density makes it light and flexible whereas hdpe is harder and has a higher strength and water resistance there is a growing concern for the way pe is discarded because it’s the most dominant plastic polluter being that less than five percent of plastics are being recycled

Overall it is estimated that on average roughly 500 billion bags are being used every year worldwide and each bag can last up to a thousand years without being decomposed plastic pollution is being spread throughout the world’s oceans due to prevailing winds and surface currents which leads to marine life ingestion and eventually human digestion annually it has

Been approximated that roughly 6.4 million tons of waste is presented into marine environments regarding the global arrangement of marine litter plastics account for 62.31 with 49 of the litter arrangement on the sea floor and 81 on the surface of the water hence the concern for the mass usage of pe throughout the world and the need for biodegradation remedies

For its remote polyethylene is entirely resistant towards microbial and enzymatic attack and very resistant to biodegradation pe is technically not biodegradable and if it does degrade it takes an extremely long time to break down into powdery plastic dust which in return contaminates the soil and water several aspects of p e make it resilient to biodegradation

Such as its high molecular weight because it’s too large to pass through the cell walls of microbes it’s exceedingly established cc and ch covalent bonds its absence of readily oxidizable and or hydrostable groups and its vastly hydrophobic nature a new technique for the degradation of pe is done by utilizing a specific microorganism known commonly as wax worms

Wax worms are the caterpillars of insects mainly referenced as wax moths the waxworm metabolize pe plastic films into ethylene glycol which is a compound that degrades swiftly a study conducted by yang etal isolated two strains capable of degrading pe that can be found in the guts of wax worms the two strains are known as enterobacter aspirate and vaccines

Transcribed from video
Polyethylene By Christina Brenckman