Friday, December 11, 2015

Possible new method to dealing with plastic pollution?

Researchers at Stanford have recently discovered that in the gut of the mealworm, there are bacteria that are capable of digesting polystyrene foam, a plastic that was previously considered to be indigestible. The bacteria are able to convert the plastics into mostly CO2 similar to how normal food digestion takes place. While the mealworms do not eat the plastic compounds preferentially, there is also additional research being done to isolate the bacteria responsible for the digestion of the plastics from the mealworm gut. It is suggested that the bacteria responsible is a member of the genus Exiguobacterium, a fairly diverse group that lives in many different environments and conditions.

This is a fairly good trend for research to be done towards finding ways to clean up plastic waste as plastic pollution is becoming a bigger issue as time passes by as the amount of plastic that ends up back in the environment is increasing over time.

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