The development of biobased and biodegradable polymers was revealed as a green solution for global plastic pollution (Hamouda, 2021). Therefore, bioplastic production has raised over time, replacing most of the corresponding applications of conventional plastics. Meantime, their contribution to plastic waste also increased (Shruti, 2019). According to the standards, at the end of the life cycle, a biodegradable polymer should decompose into water, and inorganic salts, by releasing the gases like carbon dioxide or methane depending on the oxygen availability in the surrounding environment (Papadopoulou, 2017). However, biodegradable polymers require controlled conditions for reaching their full degradability (Green, Boots, Sigwart, Jiang, & Rocha, 2016; Green, Colgan, Thompson, & Carolan, 2019). Due to improper management and misunderstanding of the real meaning of the term “biodegradable plastics’’, ends up with the accumulation of biodegradable plastics in the environment (Paul-Pont, et al., 2023). Currently, research has proven that biodegradable plastics also have a similar potential to gradually weather in the natural environment like conventional plastics with the formation of microplastics and nano plastics (Jang, et al., 2022). Therefore, similar effects caused by conventional MPs can occur with biodegradable and biobased plastics as well (Shruti, 2019). To assess the effects of biodegradable micro and nano plastics on human health, in vitro toxicity assays are done for the determination of cell viability and cytotoxicity effects.
Green, D. S., Boots, B., Sigwart, J., Jiang, S., & Rocha, C. (2016). Effects of conventional and biodegradable microplastics on a marine ecosystem engineer (Arenicola marina) and sediment nutrient cycling. Environmental pollution, 426-434.
Green, D. S., Colgan, T. J., Thompson, R. C., & Carolan, J. C. (2019). Exposure to microplastics reduces attachment strength and alters the haemolymph proteome of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis). Environmental pollution, 423-434.
Hamouda, T. (2021). Sustainable packaging from coir fibers. In Biopolymers and biocomposites from agro-waste for packaging applications . Woodhead Publishing, (pp. 113-126).
Jang, M., Yang, H., Park, S. A., Sung, H. K., Koo, H. K., Hwang, S. Y., . . . Park, J. (2022). Analysis of volatile organic compounds produced during incineration of non-degradable and biodegradable plastics. Chemosphere, p.134946.
Papadopoulou, E. a. (2017). Particleboards from agricultural lignocellulosics and biodegradable polymers prepared with raw materials from natural resources. In Natural fiber-reinforced biodegradable and bioresorbable polymer composites, pp.19-30.
Paul-Pont, I., Ghiglione, J. F., Gastaldi, E., Ter Halle, A., Huvet, A., Bruzaud, S., . . . Fabre, P. (2023). Discussion about suitable applications for biodegradable plastics regarding their sources, uses and end of life. Waste management, pp. 242-248.
Shruti, V. a.-M. (2019). Bioplastics: Missing link in the era of Microplastics. Science of The Total Environment, p.134139.
B.Sc. Hons. in Environmental Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Erasmus Mundus Joint MSc in Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (EMJMD ECT+)