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Biological deinking of inkjet-printed paper using Vibrio alginolyticus and its enzymes

Mohandass, C., Raghukumar, Chandralata
Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology 2005 v.32 no.9 pp. 424-429
Vibrio alginolyticus, bacteria, cell free system, culture media, decolorization, deinking, dialysis, enzymes, free radicals, marine sediments, molecular weight, paper, paper pulp, recycling, seawater, sodium alginate, starch, waste paper
Recycling of office waste paper (photocopy, inkjet, and laser prints) is a major problem due to difficulty in removal of nonimpact ink. Biological deinking of office waste paper is reported using several microorganisms and their enzymes. We report here deinking and decolorization of the dislodged ink particles from inkjet printed paper pulp by a marine bacterium, Vibrio alginolyticus isolate no. NIO/DI/32, obtained from marine sediments. Decolorization of this pulp was achieved within 72 h by growing the bacterium in the pulp of 3-6% consistency suspended in seawater. Immobilized bacterial cells in sodium alginate beads were also able to decolorize this pulp within 72 h. The cell-free culture supernatant of the bacterium grown in nutrient broth was not effective in deinking. However, when the culture was grown in nutrient broth supplemented with starch or Tween 80, the cell-free culture supernatant could effectively deink and decolorize inkjet-printed paper pulp within 72 h at 30°C. The culture supernatant of V. alginolyticus grown in the presence of starch or Tween 80 showed 49 U ml-¹ and 33 U ml-¹ amylase and lipase activities, respectively. Dialysis of these culture supernatants through 10 kDa cut-off membrane resulted in a 35-40% reduction in their efficiency in decolorizing the pulp. It appears that amylase and lipase effectively help in dislodging the ink particles from the inkjet printed-paper pulp. We hypothesize that the bacterium might be inducing the formation of low molecular weight free radicals in the culture medium, which might be responsible for decolorization of the pulp.