Plastic-Eating Bacteria

Some plastic bottles can stay in the ocean for up to four hundred and fifty years! For context, if Shakespeare dropped a thick plastic bottle, it could still be around. Plastic is super-hard to get rid of.

Plastic-eating bacteria have been making the news lately as potential avenue to combat this problem. It sounded interesting to me, so I started reading about these little guys. I learned that some plastic-eating enzymes have been around for a while, but they are very slow to work. Recently, however, scientists discovered a bacteria that evolved to eat plastic. They then (accidentally!) made it eat plastic even faster.

This work is still in it's infancy. These bacteria were discovered but a few years ago. So far, it seems there is a long way to go before we can implement this as a solution, but it looks like a promising start.

If you are interested in how the bacteria work, here is an explanation from a chemist: A Chemist Explains And here is an article about the mutant version that scientists created while studying: Accidental Efficiency

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