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Greening the Plastics Industry: Advances and Challenges in Bioplastics Research


Guest Editors:
Shashi Kant Bhatia
: Konkuk University, South Korea
Vinod Kumar: Cranfield University, UK
Amulya KotamrajuDublin City University, Ireland

Submission Status: Open   |   Submission Deadline: 31 January 2024

Microbial Cell Factories is calling for submissions to our Collection entitled ‘Greening the Plastics Industry: Advances and Challenges in Bioplastics Research'. Bioplastics are an emerging class of sustainable materials that have gained significant attention due to their potential to reduce the environmental impact associated with conventional petroleum-based plastics. Bioplastics can be produced from renewable resources by microbial fermentation. Microbes can directly accumulate polyhydroxyalkanoates inside the cell or can produce various precursor molecules which can be further used to produce bioplastic. However, the commercial viability of bioplastics is limited by several challenges, including high production costs, limited feedstock availability, and inferior mechanical properties compared to conventional plastics.


This Collection supports and amplifies research related to SDG 15.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Shashi Kant BhatiaKonkuk University, South Korea

Dr. Shashi Kant Bhatia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Engineering at Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea, and has more than ten years of experience in the area of biowastes valorization into bioplastic, bioenergy, and biochemicals. Dr. Bhatia has contributed extensively to the industrial press and served as an editorial board member of Sustainability, Energies, and Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery journal, and as Associate Editor of Frontier of Microbiology, Microbial Cell Factories, and PLOS One journal. He has published more than 150 research and review articles on industrial biotechnology, bioenergy production, biomaterial, biotransformation, microbial fermentation, and enzyme technology in international scientific peer-reviewed journals, edited 4 books, and holds 12 international patents. He was selected to the Top 2% Scientist List of Stanford University. He earned an M.Sc and a Ph.D. in biotechnology at Himachal Pradesh University (India). He has qualified JNU combined biotechnology entrance, DBT-JRF, GATE, CSIR exams. Dr. Bhatia has worked as a Brain Pool Post Doc Fellow at Konkuk University (2014–2016), South Korea.

Vinod Kumar: Cranfield University, UK

Dr Vinod Kumar (VK) is a Senior Lecturer in Microbial Technology and Biorefining at Cranfield University, UK. VK has longstanding skills in microbial fermentation (fungal, yeast, and bacterial) and extensive experience in ‘state-of-the-art’ techniques of bioprocess optimization, metabolic engineering, and synthetic biology. He has research experience of 12 years post Ph.D. and is actively involved in multidimensional projects aiming at the development of low-cost sustainable bioprocesses for metabolites production from renewable sources. The current research activities of VK are at nexus of Metabolic/Pathway Engineering, Bioprocessing, and Waste Valorisation. His work leads to the development of low carbon biomanufacturing technologies for the overproduction of platform/commodity chemicals and fuels from carbonaceous agro-industrial waste streams rich in renewable carbon, thus enabling a circular economy approach.  VK has published 100+ articles in peer-reviewed journals with >3300 citations and h-index of 31. He holds Visiting Faculty position for Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and IIT Roorkee, India. He is “Pool of Experts” for BBSRC, UK, and Advisor for Commonwealth Scholarships/Fellowships. He serves as Associate Editor for three peer-reviewed Journals: 3 Biotech; Food and Bioproducts Processing; Microbial Cell Factories and also part of the Editorial Board of Chemical Engineering Journal.

Amulya KotamrajuDublin City University, Ireland

Dr. Amulya Kotamraju is currently working as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Grain4lLab project, funded by the SFI Future Innovator Prize program at Dublin City University. Dr. Amulya obtained her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), Hyderabad, India. Her doctoral research majorly focused on the production of two important bio-based products i.e., polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) a biodegradable polymer, and bio-based succinic acid, a platform chemical from renewable feedstocks, with a significant scope to contribute for the circular bio-based economy. Her primary objective was to gain in depth understanding of both the production processes and possible integrations for the development of a waste biorefinery. She also worked on the production of biodegradable composite materials. Her interest lies in identifying microbial strains and possibilities that could arise from such microbial mechanisms for the development of sustainable technologies for resource recovery and value-added products synthesis to be implemented in the biobased circular economy. Prior to her doctoral research work, she worked in 2 EU-India funded projects and one DBT funded project. In 2016, she was provided funding from the Department of Science and Technology under the Women Scientists A (WOS-A) scheme to independently learn, explore and handle an end-to-end research project on ‘Sustainable bioprocess for the production of high-value succinic acid from municipal waste’ that was successfully completed in June 2019. Dr. Amulya’s research has resulted in 13 publications in SCI journals, 10 review articles, and 5 book chapters with an h-index of 17, a total citation of 1190, and a cumulative impact factor of 223.7. She also attended many national and international conferences and presented her scientific work and won 4 ‘best poster awards’ and 3 ‘best oral presentation awards’. In December 2021, she was awarded the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Best Ph.D. Thesis Award-2022 and a cash prize of 10,000 INR by the International Society for Energy Environment and Sustainability (ISEES).

  1. Bioplastics are attracting considerable attention, owing to the increase in non-degradable waste. Using microorganisms to degrade bioplastics is a promising strategy for reducing non-degradable plastic waste. ...

    Authors: Su Hyun Kim, Nara Shin, Suk Jin Oh, Jeong Hyeon Hwang, Hyun Jin Kim, Shashi Kant Bhatia, Jeonghee Yun, Jae-Seok Kim and Yung-Hun Yang
    Citation: Microbial Cell Factories 2023 22:184
  2. Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) is one of the most promising materials for replacing petroleum-based plastics, and it can be produced from various renewable biomass sources. In this study, PHA production was conduc...

    Authors: Yerin Park, Jong-Min Jeon, Jea-Kyung Park, Yung-Hun Yang, Shin Sik Choi and Jeong-Jun Yoon
    Citation: Microbial Cell Factories 2023 22:171
  3. A sustainable biorefining and bioprocessing strategy was developed to produce edible-ulvan films and non-edible polyhydroxybutyrate films. The preparation of edible-ulvan films by crosslinking and plasticisati...

    Authors: N. Arul Manikandan and Piet N. L. Lens
    Citation: Microbial Cell Factories 2023 22:140

About the collection

Microbial Cell Factories is calling for submissions to our Collection entitled 'Greening the Plastics Industry: Advances and Challenges in Bioplastics Research'.

Bioplastics are an emerging class of sustainable materials that have gained significant attention due to their potential to reduce the environmental impact associated with conventional petroleum-based plastics. Bioplastics can be produced from renewable resources by microbial fermentation. Microbes can directly accumulate polyhydroxyalkanoates inside the cell or can produce various precursor molecules which can be further used to produce bioplastic. However, the commercial viability of bioplastics is limited by several challenges, including high production costs, limited feedstock availability, and inferior mechanical properties compared to conventional plastics. The objective of this special issue is to provide a comprehensive overview of the latest research developments, innovations in bioplastics, metabolic engineering, fermentation strategies, processing techniques, and applications.

This special issue welcomes original research articles, reviews, and perspectives that cover, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Types of bioplastics: polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), bacterial cellulose-based plastics, etc.
  • Production methods for bioplastics: fermentation, metabolic engineering, blending, and fabrication of biopolymers.
  • Novel bioplastic materials, processing techniques, mechanical, thermal, and barrier properties of bioplastics.
  • Biodegradability, compostability, life cycle assessment, and environmental impacts of bioplastics.
  • Economic and policy considerations for bioplastics.
  • Applications of bioplastics in various sectors, such as packaging, agriculture, automotive, and biomedical.

Submission Guidelines

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This Collection welcomes submission of Research Articles, Data Notes, Case Reports, Study Protocols, and Database Articles. Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have read our submission guidelines. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Greening the Plastics Industry: Advances and Challenges in Bioplastics Research" from the dropdown menu.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Guest Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Guest Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests.