Biodegradation of Plastic Waste Using Marine Micro-Organisms

  • Rwiddhi Sarkhel
  • Shubhalakshmi Sengupta
  • Papita DasEmail author
  • Avijit Bhowal


Synthetic polymers are hazardous to the environment mainly in the marine environment as a lot of plastic wastes end up in the saline waters especially in the estuaries. Synthetic polymers obtained from plastic bottle wastes and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) are known to be non-biodegradable. In order to obtain biodegradability, polymers are reinforced with bio-fillers. Biodegradation is a convenient tool to degrade the synthetic polymers and bio-filler reinforcements increases the biodegradability of these polymers. Fungi are known to degrade organic materials and have developed adaptability to procure hard carbon sources. In this study, fungi isolated from the Sundarban areas (three types of Aspergillus sp.) have been used to biodegrade plastic bottle waste strips, PMMA and PMMA/cellulose composites. These polymer composite films were found to be degraded by the micro-organisms as ascertained by their weight loss analysis. The PMMA/cellulose composites lost 24% of its weight after 6 weeks by Aspergillus sp2, whereas the PMMA lost 16% of its weight by Aspergillus sp3. The plastic bottle waste lost about 20% of its weight after 6 weeks as a result of degradation by Aspergillus sp 1. Thus, these marine micro-organisms were found to degrade the polymer and polymer composites.


Synthetic plastics Biodegradable polymers Plastic bottle wastes Fungi 



I am thankful to Jadavpur University, Department of Chemical Engineering for guiding me in a right way, especially to TEQUIP 3  and RUSA 2.0 for the financial support.


  1. Ghosh, S. K., Pal, S., & Ray, S. (2013). Study of microbes having potentiability for biodegradation of plastics, 4339–4355.Google Scholar
  2. Priyanka, N., & Rachna, T. (2011). Biodegradability of polythene and plastic with the help of microorganism, 2161-0525.Google Scholar
  3. Raaman, N., Rajitha, N., Jayshree, A., & Jegadeesh, R. (2012). Biodegradation of plastic by Aspergillus spp. isolated from polluted sites around Chennai, 2278–5213.Google Scholar
  4. Sain, S., Sengupta, S., Kar, A., Mukhopadhyay, A., Sengupta, S., Kar, T., Ray, D. (2014). Effect of modified cellulose fibres on the biodegradation behavior of in-situ formed PMMA/cellulose composites in soil environment: Isolation and identification of the composite degrading fungus, 156–165.Google Scholar
  5. Shah, A. A., Hasan, F., Hameed, A., & Ahmed, S. (2012). Biological degradation of plastics: A comprehensive review, 246–265.Google Scholar
  6. Zahra, S., Abbas, S. S., Mahsa, M. T., & Mohsin, N. (2012). Biodegradation of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) by isolated fungi in solid waste medium, 396–401.Google Scholar
  7. Zheng, Y., Yanful, E. K., & Bassi, A. S. (2005). A review on plastic waste biodegradation, 243–250.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rwiddhi Sarkhel
    • 1
  • Shubhalakshmi Sengupta
    • 1
  • Papita Das
    • 1
    Email author
  • Avijit Bhowal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations