A Comparative Taxonomic Profile of Microbial Polyethylene and Hydrocarbon-Degrading Communities in Diverse Environments

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran


Background: Polyethylene (PE) is one of the most abundant plastic wastes which accumulates in marine and terrestrial environments. As microbial degradation has been a promising approach for the bioremediation of polluted environments, identification of the microbial community profile where these pollutants accumulate, has recently been in focus. Objective: We have investigated the taxonomic and functional characteristics of polyethylene- degrading microorganisms in a plastic waste recycling site in Tehran, Iran. Materials and Methods: We have analyzed and compared a 16S rRNA dataset from this study with 15 datasets from 4 diverse plastic and oil polluted habitats to identify and evaluate bacterial communities involved in bioremediation. Results: Our findings reveal that Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria and Cloroflexi were the dominant phyla and Actinobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria and Acidimicrobia were dominant classes in these samples. The most dominant Kegg Orthology associated with PE bioremediation in these samples are related to peroxidases, alcohol dehydrogenases, monooxygenases and dioxygenases. Conclusions: Long-term presence of contaminants in soil could lead to changes in bacterial phyla abundance, resulting in metabolic adaptations to optimize biological activity and waste management in a diverse group of bacteria.


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