DOI: 10.3390/ijms25010593 ISSN: 1422-0067

Biodegradation of Typical Plastics: From Microbial Diversity to Metabolic Mechanisms

Shiwei Lv, Yufei Li, Sufang Zhao, Zongze Shao
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

Plastic production has increased dramatically, leading to accumulated plastic waste in the ocean. Marine plastics can be broken down into microplastics (<5 mm) by sunlight, machinery, and pressure. The accumulation of microplastics in organisms and the release of plastic additives can adversely affect the health of marine organisms. Biodegradation is one way to address plastic pollution in an environmentally friendly manner. Marine microorganisms can be more adapted to fluctuating environmental conditions such as salinity, temperature, pH, and pressure compared with terrestrial microorganisms, providing new opportunities to address plastic pollution. Pseudomonadota (Proteobacteria), Bacteroidota (Bacteroidetes), Bacillota (Firmicutes), and Cyanobacteria were frequently found on plastic biofilms and may degrade plastics. Currently, diverse plastic-degrading bacteria are being isolated from marine environments such as offshore and deep oceanic waters, especially Pseudomonas spp. Bacillus spp. Alcanivoras spp. and Actinomycetes. Some marine fungi and algae have also been revealed as plastic degraders. In this review, we focused on the advances in plastic biodegradation by marine microorganisms and their enzymes (esterase, cutinase, laccase, etc.) involved in the process of biodegradation of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polypropylene (PP) and highlighted the need to study plastic biodegradation in the deep sea.

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