Selective media for potential polystyrene plastic-degrading bacteria

Greetings! I’m a student and for our research we’re attempting to isolate potential plastic-degrading bacteria from sediment samples on the trash-filled coast of an island. We’re having trouble in what our media should be. We know it should be selective since it will eliminate those bacteria that don’t use plastic as a carbon source but we don’t know a specific formula or kind of media to use. Any advice? Thank you in advance!

Go to the profile of JM Quismundo
Jan 22, 2019
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We’re having trouble in what our media should be. We know it should be selective since it will eliminate those bacteria that don’t use plastic as a carbon source but we don’t know a specific formula or kind of media to use. Any advice? Thank you in advance!

Go to the profile of JM Quismundo

JM Quismundo

Student, Philippine Science High School

1 Comments

Go to the profile of OldCloner
OldCloner 3 months ago

I’d suggest looking up some journal articles by scientists who have already done something similar. Here is an example: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6278/1196.full


If you go to the Supplementary Material and read the Material and Methods they describe a medium that contains minerals, yeast extract, and their plastic of choice, which was PET. I doubt that the medium (plus or minus the plastic of choice) is commercially available, but you can try calling or e-mailing some suppliers of bacterial media and see if they have any similar thing. It looks like the researchers in the article made their own.  If you are in high school it might be a bit tricky, but in college you might be able to manage making the medium.


I think you will have to pick one plastic type to work on, because it would be too complicated to just do plastic in general. So you should do some reading about plastics.  Hope this gives you some ideas.