Why are microorganisms unable to break down plastics?

Answer 1

They haven't evolved to do so. Plastics as a class of compounds are simply too new!

Basically, because microorganisms have evolved over millions of years to breakdown the sort of chemical bonds that are found in naturally occurring materials.

Synthetic polymers, such as polyethylene and polypropylene, which are commonly used to make plastic bags and other packaging materials have only been in existence for the past 100 - 120 years. Before that, molecules consisting of very long fully saturated chains of carbon-carbon bonds simply didn't exist. As a result, microorganisms may come into contract with plastics but they simply ignore them.

On the other hand, polysaccharides such as cellulose have been in existence as natural products for millions of years, so microorganisms have had sufficient time to evolve so as to break them down.

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Answer 2

Microorganisms are unable to break down plastics because plastics are synthetic polymers, which are long chains of repeating molecules that do not occur naturally in the environment. Microorganisms have evolved to break down natural materials like wood, leaves, and other organic matter, but they do not have the enzymes necessary to break the strong bonds in synthetic polymers like plastics. As a result, plastics can persist in the environment for hundreds or even thousands of years, leading to environmental pollution and harm to wildlife.

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Answer from HIX Tutor

When evaluating a one-sided limit, you need to be careful when a quantity is approaching zero since its sign is different depending on which way it is approaching zero from. Let us look at some examples.

When evaluating a one-sided limit, you need to be careful when a quantity is approaching zero since its sign is different depending on which way it is approaching zero from. Let us look at some examples.

When evaluating a one-sided limit, you need to be careful when a quantity is approaching zero since its sign is different depending on which way it is approaching zero from. Let us look at some examples.

When evaluating a one-sided limit, you need to be careful when a quantity is approaching zero since its sign is different depending on which way it is approaching zero from. Let us look at some examples.

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