A comprehensive review on microbial degradation of plastic waste
Keywords:biodegradation, bio-based plastics, enzymatic degradation, microbial degradation
Plastic is a broad name given to different polymers with high molecular weight, which can be degraded by various processes. However, considering their abundance in the environment and their specificity in attacking plastics, biodegradation of plastics by microorganisms and enzymes seems to be the most effective process. When plastics are used as substrates for microorganisms, evaluation of their biodegradability should not only be based on their chemical structure, but also on their physical properties (melting point, glass transition temperature, crystallinity, storage modulus etc.). In this review, microbial and enzymatic biodegradation of plastics and some factors that affect their biodegradability are discussed. Plastics have become an important part of modern life and are used in different sectors of applications like packaging, building materials, consumer products and much more. Each year about 100 million tons of plastics are produced worldwide. Degradation is defined as reduction in the molecular weight of the polymer. The Degradation types are (a). Chain end degradation/de-polymerization (b).Random degradation/reverse of the poly condensation process. Biodegradation is defined as reduction in the molecular weight by naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes. That is involved in the degradation of both natural and synthetic plastics.
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