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Isolation of Natural Rubber Latex Degrading Bacterial Consortium from Rubber Plantation Area

The huge quantity of waste rubber materials can cause environmental problems that are the accumulation of recalcitrant organic compounds in the environment which need great concern, sufficiently long (persistence) that they have undesirable effects. Most commonly-used fibers and natural polymers are natural rubber, especially starches, gelatin, wood and cotton are inherently biodegradable under favourable conditions although the intensity of degradation decreases with the increasing molecular weights of the polymers. Natural rubber (NR) is both a photo synthetically-renewable resource and an environmentally degradable material. It is an unsaturated high molecular weight polymer, and in nature, is expected to degrade very slowly in comparison with other natural polymers. Various physical, chemical and biological methods have been proposed to solve this problem. NR-degrading bacteria are widely distributed in soil, water and sewage and interestingly, with some exceptions, belong to the actinomycetes.  As a group, the bacteria and actinomycetes are characterized by an ability to digest complex materials and to use unusual molecules and are thus significant decomposers in soils. Present review focuses on the degradation of natural rubber by different microbes involved in degradation, analysis of degradation products and biodegradation pathway for technically important polymers. This review may provide an opportunity for further studies about the applications of biotechnological processes used as a tool for rubber waste management.

Author(s): Juby Elsa Joseph and Veena Gayathri Krishnaswamy

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