Open Access

Materials of biological origin and biofuels: Small environmental footprint and epigenetic impact (Review)

  • Authors:
    • Eleni Papakonstantinou
    • Thanasis Mitsis
    • Konstantina Dragoumani
    • Aspasia Efthimiadou
    • Flora Bacopoulou
    • George P. Chrousos
    • Elias Eliopoulos
    • Dimitrios Vlachakis
  • View Affiliations

  • Published online on: August 11, 2021
  • Article Number: 6
  • Copyright: © Papakonstantinou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License [CC BY_NC 4.0].

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Human activity, specifically the overreliance on fossil resources, has had numerous adverse effects on the environment and an epigenetic impact on human health. The destabilization of the environment and the accumulation of waste have caused alterations in the stability of the human ecosystem, affecting the exposome and modifying the epigenetic mechanisms that control or deregulate human physiology. For example, the increasing use of plastics and the chemicals derived, have been shown to promote diseases by altering epigenetic patterns. Thus, there is a growing need for more environmentally‑ and human‑friendly alternatives, also known as ‘green products and fuels’. Environmental biotechnology aims to produce ‘green’ products and fuels through the use of living cells and cell‑derived molecules. The solutions offered by this scientific discipline may include ‘green’ alternatives to chemical solvents, machine lubricants, plastics, machine fuel and batteries. Each of these alternatives has its own strengths and weaknesses that should be taken into consideration before being heralded as the successors of fossil‑derived products. The present review article summarizes the current scientific knowledge on the epigenetic impact of the current environmental status and the benefit of these alternatives.
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