Can This Strain of Bacteria Save the World? by Meenu Johnkutty
Though a lot of studies have been released about using fungi to decompose PET, virtually none have discussed using bacteria as a bioremediation strategy to tackle the amount of plastic in the environment. But, this new strain of bacteria shows major promise since it’s able to use PET as a major energy and carbon source. The bacteria produce two enzymes that break down PET into two environmentally-friendly monomers. Currently, scientists are studying how to use this bacteria to degrade plastics at an expedited pace, so that it can be implemented on a larger scale. The key to expediting the plastic degradation process is to genetically engineer a more powerful bacteria that can decompose plastic more efficiently. This can be done by transferring genes that make the enzymes work faster.
Though a lot of effort and research is needed to scale this strain of bacteria to a larger level, the promise this research holds is immense. Hopefully, in a few years’ time, we might hear about facilities that only employ bacteria to break down plastic! Only time will tell.
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