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Phthalates biodegradation in the environment


Phthalates are synthesized in massive amounts to produce various plastics and have become widespread in environments following their release as a result of extensive usage and production. This has been of an environmental concern because phthalates are hepatotoxic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic by nature. Numerous studies indicated that phthalates can be degraded by bacteria and fungi under aerobic, anoxic, and anaerobic conditions. This paper gives a review on the biodegradation of phthalates and includes the following aspects: (1) the relationship between the chemical structure of phthalates and their biodegradability, (2) the biodegradation of phthalates by pure/mixed cultures, (3) the biodegradation of phthalates under various environments, and (4) the biodegradation pathways of phthalates.

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The authors wish to thank the Hong Kong Research Grants Council for the financial support of this study (HKU 7107/03E).

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Correspondence to Tong Zhang.

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Liang, D., Zhang, T., Fang, H.H.P. et al. Phthalates biodegradation in the environment. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 80, 183 (2008).

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  • Phthalates
  • Biodegradation
  • Environment
  • Pathway