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Original Research Article

Aiding the Environment: Microorganisms for the Degradation of Plastic in Soil and Water

M.S. Gabriel Salazar Robles1* M.S. José María Cunill1

*1Biotechnology Department, Metropolitan Polytechnic University of Puebla

Ind.J.Applied.Microbiol. 2019 .22(3) : 19-37

*Corresponding author


Biodegradation is a viable alternative to solve the serious problem of plastics in the environment, and it consists of the use of living organisms for the degradation of contaminants. Microorganisms are an ideal alternative to carry out biodegradation due to their ubiquity in many niches in addition to performing a complete plastic removal, even microplastics. There are many genera of bacteria and fungi with the metabolic armament to carry out this removal and its study has been extended for several decades, being a point of interest for various investigations due to the recent boom in sustainable development. The mechanism for the biodegradation of plastics is to break the polymer into smaller subunits in order to be assimilated by the microorganism, this is achieved through chemical alterations of the polymer. It is important to spread the knowledge involved in plastic biodegradation to increase the development of suitable techniques for the mitigation of this growing worldwide problem. A compilation of genera and species of bacteria and fungi that have the potential to degrade plastic is presented, showing its removal percentage in different growth conditions and for different kinds of non-biodegradable plastics. Also, the degradation metabolism is presented.

Keywords: biodegradation, plastic, microplastics, metabolism, bacteria, fungi

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