Biodegradable plastic polymers in ocean coastal waters – degrader communities and their enzymes (BIPOD)

Marine litter, particularly plastic pollution, is one of the key threats for world ocean ecosystems. Petrochemical plastics do not readily biodegrade in the marine environment, but also biodegradable plastic polymers are generally long-lived and the current knowledge on their degradation in the sea is incomplete. Micro-organisms are at the core of this biodegradation process, which takes place in microbial biofilms growing on plastic surfaces. 

BIPOD project investigates the degradation rates of bioplastics and the biofilm community formation, functional strategies and degradation enzymes of marine microbes in four different sites in coastal waters across Europe (Finland, Wales, Sicily, Norway). The project utilizes a suite of the latest molecular methods in microbial ecology and screens new degrading enzymes, as pro- and eukaryotic microbes are known to possess diverse specialized degradation enzymes for bioplastic degradation. The result will be relevant for microbial ecology but also for improved environmental safety standards of biodegradable bioplastics in the marine environment. 

Published 2021-03-18 at 13:01, updated 2021-03-18 at 12:37