Project Details

Description

Post-consumer plastic waste is generated annually as a result of the widespread use of plastic products. Short-lived disposable plastic items, e.g., food and drink packaging, are the major portion of worldwide plastic waste. Polyolefins, including high- and low-density polyethylene (HDPE and LDPE) and polypropylene (PP), are the highest plastic production worldwide and are very recalcitrant, thus posing a serious threat to the environment. Conventional plastic waste management fails to address the contaminated plastic and blends of mixed types of plastic by limitation of sorting efficiency. Especially when plastic waste comes in the form of a multilayer, it is impossible to be mechanically recycled. Therefore, biotechnological recycling is needed
as a complementary technology to help manage the fraction of waste that is impossible to be handled with conventional recycling. Combination of bio-depolymerization and bio-recycling could allow recovering plastic
waste stream into higher-value products. Thus, exploring plastic-degrading bacteria is essential to integrate bio-depolymerization into plastic waste management.
In this project, mixed culture technology is aimed to be studied for depolymerization of polyolefins, employing their advantages from metabolic cross-feeding interaction. The enrichment, screening, and adaptive laboratory evolution of microorganisms from natural sources will be performed, along with the optimization of the degradation process. Furthermore, the synergistic microbial interaction during coevolution and co-substrate feeding will be studied. Finally, the metabolic pathways of plastic degradation by defined mixed culture will be elucidated. The achievement of this project will contribute to the development of the bio-depolymerization process for the recalcitrant polyolefins and lay down the fundamental knowledge of polyolefins hydrolysate's composition, which will help design future bio-upcycling strategies.

Key findings

bioconversion; bioupcycling; fermentation; microbial consortia; mixed culture technology; plastic biodegradation; plastic upcycling; polyolefins; recycling; valorization
StatusActive
Effective start/end date25/10/202125/10/2024

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