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Microbial Mediated Biodegradation of Plastic Waste: An Overview

Rajetidra Prasad Meena,[1]* Sourav Ghosh,[1] Surendra Singh Jatav;[3] Manoj Kumar Chitara,[4] Dinesh Jinger,[5] Karnini Gautam,[6] [7] [8] Hanuman Ram,[1] Напит an Singh Jatav,[10] Kir an Rana,[1] Surajyoti Pradhaid and Manoj Parihar[1]


Plastics are synthetic as well as semi-synthetic polymers, which develop mainly from hydrocarbons fuels (crude oil, coal and natural gas) and some other components (Saminathan et al. 2014, Ahmed et al. 2018). The word “plastic” comes from the Greek language “plastikos”, which means the material that can modify into any shape. Generally, plastics are characteiized by high molecular weights and long chains of hydrocarbons (Irani et al. 2019) largely derived from petroleum, coal, natural gas and petrochemical derived materials. The commonly used plastic polymers (Table 1) in our daily life are polybutylene succinate (PBS), polyhydroxy butyrate (PHB), polyure thane (PUR), polyethylene (PE), polycaprolactone (PCL), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyhydroxy alkanoate (PHA), polypropylene (PP), etc. (Muliamad et al. 2015, Yoshida et al. 2016, Ahmed et al. 2018). Plastic is an integral part of our daily routine life that can’t be omitted. The wide use of plastics starting from domestic, agriculture and industrial purposes are commercially available (Sivan 2011). The demand of plastic is rising day by day considering it as an integral component of daily life. The large scale production of plastic was initiated during 1950, which had a 20 fold enhancement after 1964 (Irani 2019). In 2014, global estimation of plastic production was 311 million tons (Urbanek et al. 2015, 2018), which further increased and reached to 359 million tons in 2018. Out of this

Plastic Type



Degrading microbes



Polylactic Acid (PLA)

Packaging paper, textiles and geotextiles, crop covers, compost bags, binder fibers, fiberfill and medicinal discipline for bone fracture internal fixation devices

Amycolatopsis, Thermomactinomyces sp., Saccharotrix

Thermomyceslanuginosus, Aspergillus funngatus, Mortierella sp., Doratomycesmicrospoms

Pranamuda et al. (1997), Teeraphatpomchai et al. (2003)

Tokiwa et al (2009) Karamanhoglu et al. (2014)

Polyhydroxyal- kanoates (PHAs)

Plasticizer, packaging materials, build up chiral compounds, razors, packaging bags, paper coatings, utensils fertilizers, insecticides, synthesizing containers for shampoos, cosmetics, and hygiene products, single-medical devices

Pseudomonas fluorescens, Pseudomonas putida, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas sp.

Colak and Gtiner (2004), Bhatt et al. (2008)



Medicinal applications

Entrobacter sp., Bacillus sp., Gracilibacillus sp Pseudomonas lemoignei

Yolova et al. (2010) Kumaravel et al (2010)

Poly(hydroxyb-uty rate- co-valerate) (PHB")

Transparent barriers Orthopedic device Control released drugs Specialty packaging

Actinomadura sp. Microcossus sp., Bacillus sp.

Shah et al. (2010) Shah et al. (2007)

Polycaprolacto-ne CP CL)

Biomedical field. Several polymeric devices like pellets, microcapsules, nanoparticles, microspheres, films, and implants

Penicillitmt Aspergillus sp. Clostridium

Tokiwa et al. (2009) Abou-Zeid et al (2001)

Polybutylene succinate (PBS)

Electronics, food packaging materials, bowls, cups, plates Plastics industry, shopping bags, and agriculture films

Amycolatopsis sp., Streptomyces sp, Paembacillus sp , Paembacillus amylolyticusn Purpureocillium sp., Cladosponum sp., Aspergillus funngatus, Aspergillus mger, Fusariumsolani

Teeraphatpomchai et al (2003), Penkhrue et al (2015), Ishh et al. (2008), Abe et al. (2010), Li et al. (2011), Penkhrue et al. (2015)

Table 1 Comd....

Plastic type



Degrading microbes


Polybutylene adipate terephtlialate (PBAT)

Packaging materials, robbish bags. Good flexibility in rigid bioplastics

Theimomonosporafusca, Thermobifidafusca

Witt et al. (2001) Kleeberg et al. (2005)



Yoghurt container's, egg boxes, glassy surface, fast food trays, hard vending cups, disposable cutlery, brittle seed trays, high clanty, coat hangers, low cost brittle toys

Exiguobacterium sp.

Yang et al. (2015)


Bags, water bottles, food packaging, film, toys, pipes, motor oil bottles

Zalerionmaritimum Phomndium sp., Rivulana Pseudophomndium sp., Phomndium sp.

Paco et al. (2017) Zettler et al. (2013) Oberbeckmann et al. (2014)


Lunch boxes, margarine containers, yogurt pots, syrup bottles, prescription bottles, plastic bottle caps, potato crisp bags, biscuit wrappers

Phomndium sp, Rivularia

Zettler et al. (2013)

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Credit cards, carpet backing, wire and cable sheathing, synthetic leather products, guttering pipes and fittings

Not found


Footwear, automotive, furniture, and bedding

Building insulation. Refrigerators’ coatings and adhesives

Cladosponum, Altemaria genus

(Alvarez-Barragan et al 2016, Matsunuya et al. 2010)

whole production, only a small fraction is recycled. In 2008, worldwide global plastic consumption was 260 million metric tons and currently, 359 million metric tons plastic is being produced, which is expected to double in next 20 year and possibly quadruple by 2050 (World Economic Forum

2016). Six billion tons of plastics has been produced from 1950 to 2018 worldwide (Goel and Tripathi 2019). It is estimated that the production of plastic products account for 8% of global oil production (Goel and Tripathi 2019). The recycling rate varies country wise, mainly depending on the nature of plastic and management policy of the country. The recycle rate of countries like Greece, Malta and Cyprus is below 20% with poor scientific disposal, which causes environmental pollution with high rates of plastics ending in landfill. Nine countries in Europe had barmed landfill practice from 1996 to 2006 and gained incineration rates up to 95% up to 2014 with proper recycling (Plastics Europe 2016). Plastic waste is a growing concern which needs to be addressed properly to reduce land pollution for better environmental safety. Since last 40 years, scientific community is trying to discover the viable and effective alternatives for better management of plastic pollution. Among the various strategies, microbial degradation could be an efficient approach which includes direct uptake of plastic fragments by microbes for nutritional purpose or indirectly via enzymatic degradation. Many studies have found that Pseudomonas aeruginosa, P. fluorescens and Pemcillium simplicissimum as are effective bacterial and fungal isolate to degrade the plastic waste. Waste decomposition by different kind of microbes could be sound strategy, which can manage the plastic problem to a certain level (Ahmed et al. 2018). Considering the huge importance of these bio-organism, present chapter provides a scientific outlook on current scenario, classification, mechanism and factors involved in biodegradation of plastic wastes.

  • [1] ICAR-Vivekananda Parvatiya Knslu Anusandhan Sansthan, Almora, Uttarakhand 263601, India.
  • [2] ICAR-Vivekananda Parvatiya Knslu Anusandhan Sansthan, Almora, Uttarakhand 263601, India.
  • [3] Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Institute of Agricultural Science, Banaras Hindu University,Varanasi 221005, UP, India.
  • [4] Department of Plant Pathology, College of Agriculture, GBPUAT, Panatnagar-263145, Uttarakhand, India.
  • [5] ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation Dehradun-248195, Uttarakhand, India.
  • [6] 4 ICAR-Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Jhansi-284003, Uttar Pradesh, India.
  • [7] Department of Agronomy, Institute of Agricultural Science, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221005, UP, India.
  • [8] Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, KnshiVigyan Kendra Sonepur-767017, Odisha. * Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it
  • [9] ICAR-Vivekananda Parvatiya Knslu Anusandhan Sansthan, Almora, Uttarakhand 263601, India.
  • [10] - ICAR-Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research, Rajgurunagar-410505, Maharashtra, India.
  • [11] ICAR-Vivekananda Parvatiya Knslu Anusandhan Sansthan, Almora, Uttarakhand 263601, India.
  • [12] ICAR-Vivekananda Parvatiya Knslu Anusandhan Sansthan, Almora, Uttarakhand 263601, India.
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