Plastic-eating microbes could solve the planet’s waste problem

Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL have discovered microbes in the Arctic and from the Alps that can potentially eliminate some forms of plastic waste. The microbes, they found, will eat up certain types of plastic left in their environment. This discovery could pave the way to reducing much of the plastic waste around the planet.

The discovery revealed some interesting facts, including:

  • Of the 34 cold-adapted microbes studied, 19 of the strains secreted enzymes that could break down some plastics
  • The only plastic that could be broken down were those that were biodegradable
  • None of the microbes could break down more traditional plastics made of plastic polyethylene

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