Earthworms As An Emerging Biotechnological Intervention in the Mitigation of Microplastics

Document Type : Review papers


1 Division of Zoology, Department of Biosciences, Career Point University, Hamirpur (HP), India

2 Faculty of Biology, Yerevan State University, Yerevan 0025, Armenia

3 Panjab Agriculture University, India

4 Academy of Biology and Biotechnology, Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia

5 Faculty of Biology, Yerevan State University, Yerevan, Armenia

6 Centre of Molecular and Environmental Biology, Department of Biology, University of Minho, Campus of Gualtar, Braga, Portugal

7 soil and water dept. faculty of agriculture


In the contemporary era, the disposal of plastic has emerged as a significant environmental concern, primarily due to the prevalence of non-biodegradable plastics in the environment. The decomposition of plastics through biological means is inherently slow, given the resistant nature of plastic polymers that are hard and insoluble in water. However, certain conducive conditions enable the degradation of microplastics by organisms such as earthworms. Earthworms play a pivotal role in this process through their gut microflora and mucous secretions, which actively contribute to the degradation of microplastics. This involvement triggers the production of microbial exoenzymes, stimulating microbial activity and leading to the depolymerization of plastics. Essentially, earthworms function as eco-engineers, fostering habitat conditions that enhance the rate of plastic biodegradation under specific environmental circumstances. Recent studies have introduced the concept of bioaugmentation as a potential approach to expand biological treatments for waste management, specifically targeting plastic biodegradation. This review comprehensively explores the role of earthworms' gut microflora and the associated microbial metabolic pathways involved in the degradation of plastics. The dire threat of plastic pollution to both human health and the environment is also acknowledged. In light of the current situation surrounding plastic pollution, there is a pressing need for a more critical and scientific approach for the remediation of pollutants. This review is dedicated to addressing this demand, emphasizing the urgency of adopting effective strategies for mitigating the impact of plastic waste on our ecosystems and, consequently, on human well-being.


Main Subjects