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An international team of scientists have accidentally enhanced a plastic-eating enzyme, leading to a discovery that could change our relationship with plastic forever. The breakthrough, if scaled up, could result in a process of plastic being broken down into its original components and then formed into plastic items again, removing the need for making more of the material.
The research was based on a 2016 discovery in a waste facility in Japan, where a bacterium had evolved to eat plastic. During the teams' attempt to understand the how the enzyme evolved, they made alterations that inadvertently led to the enzyme eating plastic 20 percent faster than before.
originally posted by: Iamonlyhuman
a reply to: eNumbra
Mother Nature herself created the bacterium, scientists tinkering with it evolved it to make it faster.
What could go wrong? (sarcasm)
originally posted by: oldcarpy
This reminded me of the BBC's '70's programme Doomwatch. They had an episode where a strain of bacteria or something started to eat plastic. Result was fairly dire, planes falling out of the sky, etc:
Doomwatch Video Plastic Eater
Yes, what could possibly go wrong?
Sifting through the records of 5,010 dives in the database, the team counted 3,425 items of human-made debris, more than a third of which was macroplastic – visible pieces of plastic larger than 5mm, as opposed to smaller microplastics.
Of this macroplastic debris, almost 90 percent was single-use plastic, which governments around the world are finally, laggardly beginning to address.
In the case of the world's deepest plastic bag (seen at the top of this page), it was observed almost exactly 20 years ago, on 20 May 1998. In the decades since, its frayed form has probably broken down further into innumerable but persistent microplastics littering the surface of the ocean.
originally posted by: eNumbra
It’s a sci-fi program. If I sent you a link to the Stargate series would you think there was secret alien technology under Cheyenne mountain?
We can progress forward technologically while heeding the concerns of the potential dangers; sci-fi shows have little bearing on that. (Mostly because been there done that)
I’m also at work, so no, I didn’t watch it.