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Plastic bioremediation: An exploration of current developments

Annema, Sander (2023) Plastic bioremediation: An exploration of current developments. Master's Thesis / Essay, Biomolecular Sciences.


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The development of synthetic plastics revolutionized the economy of the world. From greater ease of packaging consumer goods to car parts and medical components, this broad range of fossil-based materials has become a staple of our civilization. However, such widely used products also create equally vast amounts of waste. Which, due to its non-biodegradable nature is already severely damaging effects on the natural world, with microplastics being found from the deepest oceanic gorges to the stratosphere, and even within human bodies. Numerous organisms have already been identified which are capable of bioremediating various plastic products to varying degrees and efficiencies. Therefore, in this essay the current state of development and discovery of effective plastic bioremediating organisms for the most common plastic wastes is discussed. Polyethylene (PE) will be discussed in great depth, showing the different bioremediative strategies; as well as the metabolic pathways of a bioengineered organism capable of converting polyethylene into the biodegradable polymer PHB. The more challenging plastic polypropylene (PP) will also be described, with a known and promising metabolic pathway opening the door to industrial breakdown of this plastic. And lastly, the optimization of rapid -and almost total polyethylene terephthalate (PET) biodegration by a bacterium will be described; the products of which were shown to be usable for PET reconstitution.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Supervisor name: Scheffers, D.J.
Degree programme: Biomolecular Sciences
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2023 12:02
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2023 12:02

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