Journal of Applied & Environmental Microbiology
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Journal of Applied & Environmental Microbiology. 2017, 5(1), 8-19
DOI: 10.12691/jaem-5-1-2
Open AccessReview Article

Biodegradation of Synthetic and Natural Plastic by Microorganisms

Fatimah Alshehrei1,

1Department of Biology, Faculty of Applied sciences, Umm AlQura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Pub. Date: March 16, 2017

Cite this paper:
Fatimah Alshehrei. Biodegradation of Synthetic and Natural Plastic by Microorganisms. Journal of Applied & Environmental Microbiology. 2017; 5(1):8-19. doi: 10.12691/jaem-5-1-2


Plastic disposal is one of the greatest problems facing the environment today, as vast amounts of synthetic plastic remain non degradable. A number of microorganisms have the ability to degrade different types of plastic under suitable conditions, but due to the hardness of these polymers and their non-solubility in water, biological decomposition is a slow process. Natural plastics are made from plant and animal sources, or produced by a range of microorganisms, must be introduced. Some bacterial strains can produce and store bioplastics using carbon sources under suitable fermentation conditions. Such biomaterials are called polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) or biological polyester. They are safe, have no toxic by-products and can be degraded easily by microorganisms.

biodegradation synthetic plastic natural plastic PHA biodegradability tests

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