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Student Discovers Plastic-Eating Bacteria That Could Solve Global Pollution Crisis - Education - Heroslodge

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Student Discovers Plastic-Eating Bacteria That Could Solve Global Pollution Crisis by Noblex: 9:09 am On Jul 02

Student Discovers Plastic-Eating Bacteria That Could Solve Global Pollution Crisis

One of the world’s environmental crises could be solved with a bacteria that can eat plastic and break it down into harmless by-products. The bacteria was found by a biology student at Reed College in Oregon, Morgan Vague. This bacteria can degrade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – a common plastic which is used in clothing, bottles and food packaging. PET can degrade in centuries, and until then, it damages the environment.

Morgan Vague believed that she could speed up the process and help solve a big part of the plastic pollution on our planet:

“When I started learning about the statistics about all the plastic waste we have, essentially that told me we have a really serious problem here and we need some way to address it.” Then, she learned about bacterial metabolism and “all the crazy things bacteria can do,” so she started to see if microbes could degrade the plastic we get “straight-from-the-store.”

However, there is a long journey until we begin feeding the bacteria PET. Jay Mellies is a microbiologist and supervisor of Ms. Vague’s thesis, saying that the next step is to make the bacteria eat plastic faster, and get it to eat more different plastics, concluding that: “This is not going to be the total solution, but I think it’s going to be part of the solution.”

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