Degradation of high-molecular-weight polyethylene membrane by lignin-degrading fungi, IZU-154, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, and Trametes versicolor, was investigated under various nutritional conditions. IZU-154 showed the most significant polyethylene degradation among the three lignin-degrading fungi under nitrogen- or carbon-limited culture conditions. Furthermore, for T. versicolor and P. chrysosporium, the addition of Mn(II) into nitrogen- or carbon-limited culture medium enhanced polyethylene degradation. These results suggest that polyethylene degradation is related to ligninolytic activity of lignin-degrading fungi. Treatment of polyethylene membrane with partially purified manganese peroxidase (MnP) caused significant degradation in the presence of Tween 80, Mn(II), and Mn(III) chelator. This result demonstrates that MnP is the key enzyme in polyethylene degradation by lignin-degrading fungi.
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