The studies on plastic degradation are very important for the development of biodegradable plastics, and for reduction of pollution, since plastic waste can remain in the environment for decades or centuries. We have showed the degradation of oxo-biodegradable plastic bags and green polyethylene by Pleurotus ostreatus. This fungus can also produce mushrooms using these plastics. The plastic degradation was possibly by three reasons: (a) presence of pro-oxidant ions or plant polymer, (b) low specificity of the lignocellulolytic enzymes, and (c) the presence of endomycotic nitrogen-fixing microorganisms. In this chapter, the plastic bags’ degradation by abiotic and microbial process using the exposure to sunlight and the use of a white-rot fungus will described. The physical, chemical, and biological alterations of plastic were analyzed after each process of degradation. The degradation of plastic bags was more effective when the abiotic and biotic degradations were combined.
Part of the book: Microorganisms