Identification of microorganisms that degrade plastics

What was the challenge or problem to solve?

This time we are dealing with a project related to microbiology and sustainability. INFINITIA’s Food Technology team has developed a method to identify microorganisms that show a certain function, in this case plastic degradation, from an environmental sample, and then use them in bioreactors.

The development of this method presented several challenges: to isolate only microorganisms capable of degrading this material, to obtain pure cultures, and finally, to identify the species to which they belonged. To do this, we have isolated microorganisms that must have the desired function, and using molecular and sequencing techniques and cross-referencing with a database, we have identified them.

Identification of microorganisms that degrade plastics
With this project we have successfully developed a procedure to isolate microorganisms with the ability to degrade plastic.

Identification of microorganisms that degrade plastics
How was it addressed or what was the solution?

We began by selecting and isolating a number of microorganisms that might have the ability to degrade the material. First, environmental samples where the potential microorganisms could be found were processed. The samples were then cultured on media in the presence of plastic, so that they would use it as a nutrient.

Next, several subcultures were performed to obtain pure cultures of the different microorganisms. This was a key step in order to sequence each culture.

Through sequencing it was possible to identify the isolated microorganisms. After obtaining the DNA sequence of each microorganism, it was entered into a database and cross-referenced with other databases. Thus, we determined the exact genus and species of each microorganism.

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