Plastic Biodegrading Microbes in the Environment and Their Applications

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Plastic pollution has emerged as a serious environmental concern in the last few decades. The uncontrolled usage of various types of plastics mainly for packaging, transportation, agriculture, and industrial application has generated a huge amount of environmental waste. Primary waste disposal methods through burning and landfilling generates harmful byproducts. Hence, the management of plastic waste remains a huge challenge and demands immediate attention. Recently, the use of microbes for the biodegradation of plastic waste has emerged as one of the most eco-friendly and cost-effective techniques. Microbes are capable of attaching to the polymer surface and secreting extracellular enzymes that initiates the biodegradation process. The enzymes perform hydrolytic cleavage releasing CO 2 and H 2 O, which is utilized by microbes as an energy source for reproduction and growth. Most of the recent studies have focused on the amount, distribution, fate, and ingestion of plastics and only a few have outlined the biodegradation process by microbes. Therefore, in this chapter, we present the microbial-mediated degradation of plastic waste from different environmental conditions. This chapter emphasizes the identification of plastic degrading microbes from different environmental conditions, role of microbes in biodegradation process, factors affecting microbial degradation, recent biotechnological tools, and future opportunities to enhance biodegradation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiodegradable Materials and Their Applications
Editors Inamuddin, Tariq Altalhi
Place of PublicationHoboken, NJ, United States
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Number of pages45
ISBN (Electronic)9781119905301
ISBN (Print)9781119904908
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • plastic degradation
  • environmental bioremediation
  • sustainability

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