Plastic pollution is a growing environmental problem, in part due to the extremely stable and durable nature of this polymer. As recycling does not provide a complete solution, research has been focusing on alternative ways of degrading plastic. Fungi provide a wide array of enzymes specialized in the degradation of recalcitrant substances and are very promising candidates in the field of plastic degradation. This review examines the present literature for different fungal enzymes involved in plastic degradation, describing their characteristics, efficacy and biotechnological applications. Fungal laccases and peroxidases, generally used by fungi to degrade lignin, show good results in degrading polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), while esterases such as cutinases and lipases were successfully used to degrade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyurethane (PUR). Good results were also obtained on PUR by fungal proteases and ureases. All these enzymes were isolated from many different fungi, from both Basidiomycetes and Ascomycetes, and have shown remarkable efficiency in plastic biodegradation under laboratory conditions. Therefore, future research should focus on the interactions between the genes, proteins, metabolites and environmental conditions involved in the processes. Further steps such as the improvement in catalytic efficiency and genetic engineering could lead these enzymes to become biotechnological applications in the field of plastic degradation.

Fungal Enzymes Involved in Plastics Biodegradation

Temporiti M. E. E.
;
Nicola L.;Nielsen E.;Tosi S.
2022-01-01

Abstract

Plastic pollution is a growing environmental problem, in part due to the extremely stable and durable nature of this polymer. As recycling does not provide a complete solution, research has been focusing on alternative ways of degrading plastic. Fungi provide a wide array of enzymes specialized in the degradation of recalcitrant substances and are very promising candidates in the field of plastic degradation. This review examines the present literature for different fungal enzymes involved in plastic degradation, describing their characteristics, efficacy and biotechnological applications. Fungal laccases and peroxidases, generally used by fungi to degrade lignin, show good results in degrading polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), while esterases such as cutinases and lipases were successfully used to degrade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyurethane (PUR). Good results were also obtained on PUR by fungal proteases and ureases. All these enzymes were isolated from many different fungi, from both Basidiomycetes and Ascomycetes, and have shown remarkable efficiency in plastic biodegradation under laboratory conditions. Therefore, future research should focus on the interactions between the genes, proteins, metabolites and environmental conditions involved in the processes. Further steps such as the improvement in catalytic efficiency and genetic engineering could lead these enzymes to become biotechnological applications in the field of plastic degradation.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1482978
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