Biodegrading Plastic Bottles

About 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute.  Only 14% of these are recycled worldwide.  The rest end up in landfills or, worse, pollute the ocean.  PET is inert by design, and lasts millions of years.

In 2016, a species of bacteria was genetically engineered to eat plastic.  The bacteria use an enzyme (a biochemical catalyst) that breaks down the plastic and turns it into liquids that can be used like kerosene or gas.

Tweaking the enzyme, a group of University of Portsmouth scientists stumbled on a form that is more efficient than what the bacteria used.  It can break down PET in just a few days.

“It is a modest improvement – 20% better – but that is not the point,” said McGeehan. “It’s incredible because it tells us that the enzyme is not yet optimised. It gives us scope to use all the technology used in other enzyme development for years and years and make a super-fast enzyme.”

Guardian article

4500

Advertisements

Post a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s