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Plastics are present in the majority of daily-use products worldwide. Due to society’s production and consumption patterns, plastics are accumulating in the environment, causing global pollution issues and intergenerational impacts. Our work aims to contribute to the development of solutions and sustainable methods to mitigate this pressing problem, focusing on the ability of marine-derived actinomycetes to accelerate plastics biodegradation and produce polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), which are biodegradable bioplastics. The thin plastic films’ biodegradation was monitored by weight loss, changes in the surface chemical structure (Infra-Red spectroscopy FTIR-ATR), and by mechanical properties (tensile strength tests). Thirty-six marine-derived actinomycete strains were screened for their plastic biodegradability potential. Among these, Streptomyces gougerotti, Micromonospora matsumotoense, and Nocardiopsis prasina revealed ability to degrade plastic films—low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polystyrene (PS) and polylactic acid (PLA) in varying conditions, namely upon the addition of yeast extract to the culture media and the use of UV pre-treated thin plastic films. Enhanced biodegradation by these bacteria was observed in both cases. S. gougerotti degraded 0.56% of LDPE films treated with UV radiation and 0.67% of PS films when inoculated with yeast extract. Additionally, N. prasina degraded 1.27% of PLA films when these were treated with UV radiation, and yeast extract was added to the culture medium. The main and most frequent differences observed in FTIR-ATR spectra during biodegradation occurred at 1740 cm−1, indicating the formation of carbonyl groups and an increase in the intensity of the bands, which indicates oxidation. Young Modulus decreased by 30% on average. In addition, S. gougerotti and M. matsumotoense, besides biodegrading conventional plastics (LDPE and PS), were also able to use these as a carbon source to produce degradable PHA bioplastics in a circular economy concept
Original languageEnglish
Article number760
Number of pages27
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • (micro)plastics pollution challenge
  • actinobacteria
  • polymer biodegradation
  • biodegradation quantification methods
  • polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)
  • degradable bioplastic formation
  • blue biotechnology
  • circular economy


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