About this Research Topic
Despite the many efforts exerted to obtain plastic-degrading enzymes and microbes from landfills, researchers have realized that the ocean is a storehouse of resources for plastic degradation. Increasing interest has been placed on isolating and identifying plastic-degrading enzymes and microbes from the ocean. Current studies showed that the degradation efficiencies for single microbes or enzymes are too low to meet the requirements of industrial applications. New, highly efficient biodegradation of plastics could be achieved by constructing novel artificial ecosystems, including multi-enzyme, mixed-microbe, and microbe-enzyme systems. Interestingly, the characteristics of plastic also affect its degradation, such as the crystallinity of PET. PET usually appears in the form of plastic bottles or membranes with high crystallinity, implying a low degradation rate. Therefore, a pre-treatment process would be necessary as a prerequisite for plastic biodegradation. In addition, the accumulation of degradation products may induce environmental pollution. Following microbial and enzymatic action, these products of hydrolysates can be converted into high-value products such as gallic acid, pyrogallol, catechol, muconic acid, and vanillic acid, which could provide a solution for the sustainable use of plastics in a circular economy and ultimately a quantitative reduction of plastic waste reaching the ocean.
In this Research Topic, we wish to centralize and review contributions, ideas, and comments related to microbes and enzymes from marine environments and the corresponding applications on plastic degradation. The following subtopics are welcome to this Research Topic but are not limited to:
• Identification of marine-derived degrading microbes and their interaction with plastics
• Isolation of novel degrading enzymes from marine microbes and their functional optimization
• Discovery of novel mechanisms and pathways for plastic degradation
• Construction of novel artificial ecosystems for plastic degradation
• Proposition of new plastic pre-treatment to accelerate its degradation
• Mineralization and conversion of products in plastic hydrolysate
Keywords: Plastics pollution, Marine microparticle, Artificial ecosystem, Degradation pretreatment, Utilization mechanism
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.