TABLE 1.

Microorganisms degrading the synthetic polymers PVC, polyurethane, nylon, and acrylics and their mode of action

Synthetic polymer(s)Degrading microorganismsMain mode of actionReference(s)
PVCFungi (e.g., Aureobasidium pullulans) and bacteria (e.g., Pseudomonas aeruginosa)Increased loss of plasticizers due to microbial degradation 67
PolyurethaneaFungi (e.g., Chaetomium globosum) and bacteria (e.g., Bacillus subtilis)Enzymatic activity 33, 36
NylonWood-degrading fungi (e.g., Bjerkandera adusta) and bacteria (e.g., Bacillus pallidus)Physical disruption and enzymatic degradation 24, 63
AcrylicsMelanin-producing fungiLikely physical disruption 8, 37, 60
  • a Polyester-type polyurethanes are more susceptible to microbial attack than other forms.