Bacterial Communities of Tyre Monofill Sites: Growth on Tyre Shreds and Leachate

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Microbiology

Publication Date


Document Type





bacterial communities, colonization, leachate, tyre monofill, tyre shreds




Aims: To investigate bacterial communities of tyre monofill sites, colonization of tyre material by bacteria and the effect of tyre leachate on bacteria.

Methods and Results: Culturable bacteria were isolated from buried tyre shreds and identified using fatty acid methyl ester analysis. Isolates belonged to taxonomic groups such as Bacilli, Actinobacteria, Clostridia, Flavobacteria, b and c-proteobacteria. For tyre material colonization experiments, Bacillus megatarium, Bacillus cereus, Hydrogenophaga flava, Janthinobacterium lividum, Cellulosimicrobium cellulans, Arthrobacter globiformis (isolated from tyre shreds or leachate at the study site); Escherichia coli and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans were used. Beakers containing tyre shreds and artificial rain water were inoculated with a given bacterial culture, incubated at room temperature and sampled at regular intervals. 4¢,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining followed by epifluorescent microscopy was used to enumerate bacteria in samples. Of the bacteria tested, B. megatarium, J. lividum, E. coli, C. cellulans and A. globiformis exhibited the most extensive colonization of the tyre shreds. However, the extent of colonization varied among bacteria. Response to tyre leachate was also examined using B. cereus and J. lividum. Both bacteria increased in abundance due to the addition of leachate.

Conclusions:Bacteria associated with buried tyre shreds were identified and found to include typical soil and freshwater organisms. The majority of indigenous isolates grew on tyre material (or leachate) suggesting that they play an active role in the ecology of these sites and that their potential role in tyre degradation should be explored.

Significance and Impact of the study: This study provides information on bacterial communities of tyre-waste disposal sites, explores the interaction between tyre material and bacteria and identifies bacteria that could be involved in or employed for recycling tyre-waste.