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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Munching on plastic: Our new best friends

Crushed PET Bottles  (Photo by Michal Manas)
If you're a hungry microbe, what better to munch on than Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)?  After all, there’s more than enough of it to go around.

As a sideline, you could be helping to save Planet Earth. CNN reports that PET-loving bacteria are doing their part to offset “the world’s fast-growing plastic pollution problem.”

It is estimated that by the year 2050, there will be “more plastic in the ocean than fish.”  That’s if Ideonella sakaiensis doesn’t get there first.  Japanese scientists have gleefully discovered that this particular
bacterial strain “can fully degrade PET plastic.”

This could indeed be the greatest discovery since Styrofoam-eating mealworms.


Copyright March 15, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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