Low, Jia Jie
Date of Issue2017-05-16
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Plastics have a big role to play in the lives of mankind, and are present all around us. Its versatility allows it to fulfil a wide variety of requirements and hence we depend heavily on the many uses of plastics. However, the convenience of manufacturing inexpensive plastics has resulted in the gross negligence with regards to the handling of the end-of-life (EOL) of plastic products. Improper disposal of plastics has posed many problems to the environment, chief of all the leakage of contaminants to its surroundings. Untreated leachate in landfills will cause the contaminants to eventually leak into the marine environment where they could be taken up by the marine organisms. This would cause bioaccumulation in the organisms which would eventually travel up the food chain and end up in human bodies. Biodegradation of plastics has been mainly focused on the bacteria in the environment, but it has been observed that mealworms have the ability to degrade some form of plastics, specifically polystyrene. This study aims to isolate the bacteria for which is responsible for the biodegradation of polystyrene. The mealworms were given a diet of polystyrene, and the gut microbiota was extracted in order to cultivate the bacteria. Selective media was used in order to isolate the plastics-degrading bacteria, and the genome DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) was extracted from the bacteria cells. The strain identification was main based on the comparison of 16S rDNA (recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid) sequences.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University