MICROBIAL DEGRADATION OF PLASTIC: A REVIEW


Abstract

Since last few decades the uncontrolled use of plastics for various purposes such as packaging, transportation, industry and agriculture in rural as well as urban areas, has elevated serious issue of plastic waste disposal and its pollution. The efficient decomposition of plastic bags takes about 1000 years.  Plastic causes pollution and global warming not only because of increase in the problem of waste disposal and land filling but also release CO2 and dioxins due to burning. Commonly used methods for plastic disposal were proved to be inadequate for effective plastic waste management, and hence there is growing concern for use of efficient microorganisms meant for biodegradation of non-degradable synthetic polymer. The biodegradable polymers are designed to degrade fast by microbes due their ability to degrade the most of the organic and inorganic materials, including lignin, starch, cellulose and hemicelluloses.  The present review discusses the current status, mechanisms of biodegradation of plastics, techniques for characterizing degraded plastics and factors affecting their biodegradation.



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