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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10(9), 3722-3742; doi:10.3390/ijms10093722
Review

Biodegradability of Plastics

1,* , 2
, 1
 and 2
1 Okinawa Industrial Technology Center/12-2 Suzaki, Uruma, Okinawa 904-2234, Japan 2 National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)/Tsukuba Central 6, Higashi, Tsukuba Ibaraki 305- 8566, Japan
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 August 2009 / Revised: 21 August 2009 / Accepted: 25 August 2009 / Published: 26 August 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradability of Materials)
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Abstract

Plastic is a broad name given to different polymers with high molecular weight, which can be degraded by various processes. However, considering their abundance in the environment and their specificity in attacking plastics, biodegradation of plastics by microorganisms and enzymes seems to be the most effective process. When plastics are used as substrates for microorganisms, evaluation of their biodegradability should not only be based on their chemical structure, but also on their physical properties (melting point, glass transition temperature, crystallinity, storage modulus etc.). In this review, microbial and enzymatic biodegradation of plastics and some factors that affect their biodegradability are discussed.
Keywords: aliphatic polyesters; bio-based plastics; biodegradability; enzymatic degradation; microbial degradation aliphatic polyesters; bio-based plastics; biodegradability; enzymatic degradation; microbial degradation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tokiwa, Y.; Calabia, B.P.; Ugwu, C.U.; Aiba, S. Biodegradability of Plastics. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10, 3722-3742.

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