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Resources on Plastics in the Environment (June 2022): Biodegradation

By Margaret Manion


One intriguing recent trend in the search for technical means of mitigating microplastic and even smaller plastic wastes is represented by new technologies for biodegradation, as documented by Mohd. Shahnawaz, Manisha Sangale, and Avinash Ade in their recent Bioremediation Technology for Plastic Waste. These authors explore the potential role of microbial approaches, turning to bacteria for help. This relatively technical book includes discussion of many in vitro, in situ, and ex situ case studies. Another new resource that devotes attention to the cutting edge of potential biological remedies is Influence of Microplastics on Environmental and Human Health, edited by Yvonne Lang. Notably, the book begins with a “Short Commentary” reflecting on how the COVID-19 pandemic has presented both challenges and opportunities for plastic waste management. In the final chapter, “Fungal Bioremediation of Microplastics,” contributors Naveen Kumar, Suresh Pillai, and Mary Heneghan review characteristics of fungi that make them a likely agent for delivery of new bioremediation processes, and present case studies of some preliminary experimental results. Whether or not readers wish to follow such discussions closely, they may welcome the news that research toward combating the effects of microplastics has gone so far, since plastic waste at micro- and even nanoscales can seem overwhelming.