Title [Minireview]Biodegradation of plastics: mining of plastic-degrading microorganisms and enzymes using metagenomics approaches
Author Dae-Wi Kim1, Jae-Hyung Ahn2, and Chang-Jun Cha3*
Address 1Division of Life Sciences, Jeonbuk National University, Jeonju 54896, Republic of Korea, 2Agricultural Microbiology Division, National Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Wanju 55365, Republic of Korea, 3Department of Systems Biotechnology, Chung-Ang University, Anseong 17546, Republic of Korea
Bibliography Journal of Microbiology, 60(10),969-976, 2022,
DOI 10.1007/s12275-022-2313-7
Key Words plastic, biodegradation, metagenomics
Abstract Plastic pollution exacerbated by the excessive use of synthetic plastics and its recalcitrance has been recognized among the most pressing global threats. Microbial degradation of plastics has gained attention as a possible eco-friendly countermeasure, as several studies have shown microbial metabolic capabilities as potential degraders of various synthetic plastics. However, still defined biochemical mechanisms of biodegradation for the most plastics remain elusive, because the widely used culture-dependent approach can access only a very limited amount of the metabolic potential in each microbiome. A culture-independent approach, including metagenomics, is becoming increasingly important in the mining of novel plastic-degrading enzymes, considering its more expanded coverage on the microbial metabolism in microbiomes. Here, we described the advantages and drawbacks associated with four different metagenomics approaches (microbial community analysis, functional metagenomics, targeted gene sequencing, and whole metagenome sequencing) for the mining of plastic-degrading microorganisms and enzymes from the plastisphere. Among these approaches, whole metagenome sequencing has been recognized among the most powerful tools that allow researchers access to the entire metabolic potential of a microbiome. Accordingly, we suggest strategies that will help to identify plastisphere-enriched sequences as de novo plastic-degrading enzymes using the whole metagenome sequencing approach. We anticipate that new strategies for metagenomics approaches will continue to be developed and facilitate to identify novel plastic-degrading microorganisms and enzymes from microbiomes.