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Eating Plastic

By: Dan

Scientists in Japan may have come up with a solution to the immense plastic problem our society is facing.

Nowadays, plastic is used too much. More than 300 million tons are created every year. Not only is it created too much, but there’s also no way of effectively disposing it. Plastic takes many years to biodegrade, and people need to find a way to dispose of it properly, and fast.

Recently, Japanese scientists have cultivated a new bacteria called Ideonella Sakaiensis, which may help us solve this problem. This bacteria can break down PET, which is used to make plastic, being the first ever bacteria that can do so. It works by turning PET into another substance called MHET, and then uses an additional enzyme to turn it into basic components.

This may make the bacterial look like a miracle, but as always, if something seems too good to be true then it probably has a catch. In this case, it takes far too long. It takes 6 weeks to eat through a thin layer of PET, but of course, scientists are looking for a way to speed it up artificially by changing the bacteria’s genome. Once this bacteria gets faster, it may solve one of the world’s biggest problems.

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