The April issue of FEBS Open Bio features our first In the Limelight section, a collection of review articles on a hot topic. This month's section is on bioplastics, to accompany the upcoming FEBS Special Session on Science & Society – Plastics: revolution, pollution and substitution, which will be held on Monday July 5 2021, as part of the 45th FEBS Congress, now a virtual event.
Plastic materials have remarkable versatility and utility, and have become an integral part of modern society. However, the durability of plastics is both boon and bane, as their slow degradation and prolific use has serious environmental ramifications. As a consequence, there is tremendous scientific, industrial, societal, and political interest in new materials which retain the advantageous properties of traditional plastics, while being biodegradable and/or derived from renewable biological sources.
The guest editor and one of the Special Session Chairs, Raffaele Porta, provides a comprehensive overview of the progress made and challenges ahead in the introductory Editorial, "Anthropocene, the plastic age and future perspectives" which can be read here: https://doi.org/10.1002/2211-5463.13122
The three review articles in this issue address different aspects of this problem:
(1) Oliver Bajt describes recent findings on the effects of plastic degradation and the resulting microplastics on marine life, emphasising the catastrophic effects of rampant plastic use and the need for greater study of these phenomena. The review article can be read here: https://doi.org/10.1002/2211-5463.13120
(2) Frédéric Debeaufort discusses recent work on the development of new biodegradable materials from food and marine waste. The review article can be read here: https://doi.org/10.1002/2211-5463.13121
(3) Paola Fabbri and colleagues provide a detailed map of the latest developments in the transition from plastics to bioplastics, and the specific role played by biotechnology in promoting this transition. The review article can be read here: https://doi.org/10.1002/2211-5463.13119
To register for the virtual 2021 FEBS Congress and attend the Special Session on Science & Society, please visit here: https://2021.febscongress.org/registration