Heavy metals present in high concentrations in aquatic systems are posing serious problems to aquatic life. Among the heavy metals, chromium has been used in many industries and hence its removal from waste waters is significant. Biodegradation is an economic and ecofriendly method employed in the removal of heavy metals. Use of microbes like bacteria, algae, yeasts and fungi as degrading agent for heavy metal removal has received interest because of high surface to volume ratio, availability, rapid kinetics of adsorption and desorption and low cost. In present paper, the microbial degradation of polymeric material was carried out by incubating the polymeric films with microbes like Pseudomonas fluorescens, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, Trametes versicolor, Streptomyces species, Aspergillus niger, Nocardia sp, Bacillus subtilis etc., in presence of hexavalent chromium ions (Cr6+). Degradation impact by microbes on the crystalline structure was seen in Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) micrographs. A record of loss in weight and tensile strength were also made. Esterase was found to be involved in the biodegradation. Polymeric films that are incubated with P. fluorescens in presence of Cr6+ ions, biodegradation was faster as compared to other microbial species. Further SEM analysis confirmed the presence of abundant colonies of branched mycelium throughout the infected transparency sheet was clearly visible.
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