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Biodegradation of Plastic Through Waxworm (Order- Lepidoptera; Family- Pyralidae): Review

Vitthalrao Bhimasha Khyade


Plastic is synthetic polymer. It is derived from fossil oil. It is resistant to biodegradation. Near about ninety two percent of the plastic belong to Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). Both of them are largely utilized in packaging Production of plastic production has increased exponentially in the last few years. Innovative and eco-friendly solutions for plastic degradation are urgently required. Ever increasing water pollution, soil pollution and closing of landfill sites problems have led to concern about plastics. With the excessive use of plastics and increasing pressure being placed on capacities available for plastic waste disposal, the need for biodegradable plastics and biodegradation of plastic wastes has assumed increasing importance in the last few years. Awareness of the waste problem and its impact on the environment has awakened new interest in the area of degradable polymers. The interest in environmental issues is growing and there are increasing demands to develop material which do not burden the environment significantly. Biodegradation is necessary for water-soluble or water-immiscible polymers because they eventually enter streams which can neither be recycled nor incinerated. It is important to consider the microbial degradation of natural and synthetic polymers in order to understand what is necessary for biodegradation and the mechanisms involved. The waxworms metabolize polyethylene plastic films into ethylene glycol to a compound which biodegrades rapidly. This unusual ability to digest matter classically thought of as non-edible may originate with the waxworm's ability to digest beeswax. Two strains of bacteria, Enterobacter asburiae and Bacillus sp, isolated from the guts of Plodia interpunctella waxworms, have been shown to decompose polyethylene in laboratory testing.


Plastic; Galleria mellonella; Plodia interpunctella; Waxworm

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