Technological watch

Ecotoxicological Impact of Bioplastics Biodegradation: A Comprehensive Review

The emergence of bioplastics presents a promising solution to the environmental impact of the plastics industry. Bioplastics are engineered to degrade in aquatic or soil environments. However, not all bioplastics are completely biodegradable, and some, like petrochemical-based plastics, may contribute to plastic pollution. The biodegradability of bioplastics is significantly different in different environmental conditions such as soil, marine, and composting environments. At the same time, bioplastics produced from natural resources contain a mixture of known and unknown materials and show 32% cytotoxicity, 42% oxidative stress, 67% baseline toxicity, and 23% antiandrogenicity in bioassays. The extensive biodegradation of bioplastics in soil can also change the soil nutrients, leading to eutrophication or stunted plant growth. However, many concerns have arisen, according to which bioplastics may not be an alternative option for global plastic pollution in the long run, and limited studies focus on this scenario. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the biodegradation of bioplastics in different environmental conditions and by microorganisms and their ecotoxicological impacts on soil and marine health. In conclusion, while bioplastics have the potential to be a sustainable alternative to conventional plastics, it is essential to address concerns regarding their complete biodegradability and toxicity. Therefore, sustainable methods must be used for their production and biodegradation to ensure a positive impact on the environment.

Publication date: 17/12/2023

Author: Shakir Ali

Reference: doi: 10.3390/pr11123445

MDPI (processes)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.