Revista Brasileira de Gestao Ambiental e Sustentabilidade (ISSN 2359-1412)
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Vol. 8, No 18, p. 181-194 - 30 abr. 2021


Biotechnology for the mitigation of plastic wastefrom the oceans

Edson Barbosa Souza , Angela Machado Rocha e Marcelo Santana Silva

In contemporary times, the term "plastic" represents a family of polymers that are synthetically developed and have the property of being deformed without breaking. Since the beginning of its manufacturing at industrial levels, the amount of the world's plastic production has already risen over 20,000%. Most of the produced plastic ends up having the sea as the end destination and it is known that there are toxic compounds associated with its decomposition that can cause serious problems to the ecosystem and to marine fauna. Biotechnology, as an area of study that integrates several areas of science, is committing to develop methods that may be useful in reversing the impacts that improper disposal of plastic can cause in the environment. The development of biodegradable materials and faster degradation tests with selected microorganisms have been the most effective biotechnological techniques, although they do not yet have a major impact on existing pollution mitigation. This paper will discuss the current accumulation of plastic in the oceans, as well as some of the biotechnological alternatives adopted to reverse the amount of plastic material discarded annually which ends up in the sea.

Biotechnology; Pollution; Plastic waste; Mitigation; Oceans.

Biotecnologia para a mitigação de resíduos plásticos dos oceanos. Nos tempos contemporâneos, o termo "plástico" representa uma família de polímeros que são sinteticamente desenvolvidos e têm a propriedade de serem deformados sem quebrar. Desde o início de sua fabricação em níveis industriais, os números da produção de plásticos pelo mundo já subiram mais de 20.000%. Boa parte dos plásticos produzidos acabam tendo o mar como destino final e sabe-se que existem compostos tóxicos associados à sua decomposição que podem causar sérios problemas ao ecossistema e seus indivíduos. A biotecnologia, como ciência que integra diversas áreas das ciências, tem se proposto a desenvolver métodos que possam ser úteis na reversão dos impactos que o descarte indevido de plástico pode causar no meio ambiente. Desenvolvimento de materiais biodegradáveis e testes de degradação mais rápidos com auxílio de microrganismos selecionados têm sido as técnicas biotecnológicas mais eficazes, apesar de ainda não apresentarem grande impacto na mitigação da poluição já existente. Esse trabalho propõe-se a discutir o atual acúmulo de plástico nos oceanos, bem como algumas das alternativas biotecnológicas adotadas para reverter a quantidade de materiais plásticos anualmente descartada nos mares.

Biotecnologia; Poluição; Resíduos plásticos; Mitigação; Oceanos.


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