A team of scientists from Japan have stumbled upon bacteria that have evolved and adapted to consuming and breaking down plastic.
This is a remarkable discovery when you think about all the havoc plastic is doing to the environment. The team of Japanese scientists discovered the bacteria while collection wastewater samples that contained plastic items.
The bacteria known as Ideonella sakaiensis is said to have adapted to an exclusive diet consisting of plastic material. The bacteria breaks down plastic using two enzymes. First, the bacteria clings on the plastic material and then embark on breaking it down into terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol in a two-step process. The bacteria then digest the two broken down substances.
Plastics have been around for about 70 years now, and it appears somewhere along that time, the bacteria adapted to making a meal out of plastics. The full details of their mutation have been published in Science.
This discovery has naturally elicited much excitement about the possible solutions especially towards the plastic menace choking up landmines, water bodies, and sewer systems among others. However, wide scale deployment of these bacteria is …read more
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