Recent developments in microbial degradation of polypropylene: Integrated approaches towards a sustainable environment

Ashvinder Kumar Rana*, Manju Kumari Thakur, Adesh Kumar Saini, Sudesh Kumar Mokhta, Omid Moradi, Tomasz Rydzkowski, Walaa F. Alsanie, Qilin Wang, Sotirios Grammatikos, Vijay Kumar Thakur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Fossil-fuel-based plastics have many enticing properties, but their production has resulted in significant environmental issues that require immediate attention. Despite the fact that these polymers are manmade, some bacteria can degrade and metabolise them, suggesting that biotechnologies based on the principle of plastic biodegradation could be beneficial. Among different types of plastics, polypropylene (PP), either having low or high density, is one of the most consumed plastics (18.85%). Their debasement under natural conditions is somewhat tricky. Still, their debasement under natural conditions is rather difficult slightly. However, different scientists have still made efforts by employing other microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and guts bacteria of larvae of insects to bio-deteriorate the PP plastic. Pre-irradiation techniques (ultraviolet and gamma irradiations), compatibilizers, and bio-additives (natural fibers, starch, and polylactic acid) have been found to impact percent bio-deterioration of different PP derivatives stronglythe various. The fungal and bacterial study showed that PP macro/microplastic might serve as an energy source and sole carbon during bio-degradation. Generally, gravimetric method or physical characterization techniques such as FTIR, XRD, SEM, etc., are utilized to affirm the bio-degradation of PP plastics-based materials. However, these techniques are not enough to warrant the bio-deterioration of PP. In this regard, a new technique approach that measures the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during bacterial or fungus degradation has also been discussed. In addition, further exploration is needed on novel isolates from plastisphere environments, sub-atomic strategies to describe plastic-debasing microorganisms and improve enzymatic action strategies, and omics-based innovations to speed up plastic waste bio-deterioration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154056
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date5 Mar 2022
Publication statusPrint publication - 20 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier B.V.


  • Bacteria
  • Biodegradation
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Fungi
  • Insects larvae
  • Polypropylene


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