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One step closer to a cure for plastic waste

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Scientists have found a way to get rid of all the plastic in the world!

Well not really, but there could be a solution to get rid of the excess amount of plastic around the world. Who would’ve thought it would be a type of bacteria to solve the problem?

This bacteria was found in Japan, and it’s name is Ideonella sakaiensis. The bacteria uses polyethylene terephthalate as a source for energy and carbon, and polyethylene terephthalate happens to be one of the common forms of plastic, known as PET.

Scientist are now starting to discuss if this bacteria can be used in real world situations. One point of view is that it will not work or make as big of an impact as originally thought. The bacteria itself can grow extremely fast but is slow when it comes to breaking down the plastic material. With this dilemma, scientists are starting to flirt with the idea of mutating the bacteria so it can be used to breakdown plastic at a faster rate.

Even with the idea of using the bacteria or mutating it so it will eat faster, the bacteria will never allow people to stop worrying about the amount of plastic in the world. This bacteria might make a difference, but scientists have concluded it will not get rid of all the plastic in the world. Also, the idea of being able to throw plastic away without thinking about where it will go and how it can affect the environment will never be real.

This bacteria could help with the environment, but at what cost?

Along with the bacteria moving at a slow rate, scientists don’t yet know if there are downsides. Of course it will do a lot of good, but there is no current understanding of the possibility of major side effects.

If the bacteria is not able to be confined to one place, like a car, for instance, will it start eating the plastic in the vehicle? That is likely but unknown.

While science has yet to find the fix that will get rid of our plastic problem completely, it is good to know they are on the right path to solving a problem that is only getting worse.

To read more:
http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/03/10/469972237/this-plastic-eating-bacterium-might-help-deal-with-waste-one-day

http://fortune.com/2016/03/14/plastic-eating-bacteria/

http://www.cnet.com/news/newly-discovered-bacteria-eats-and-digests-pet-plastic/

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