Chinese researchers have discovered a marine community of bacteria capable of breaking down polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyethylene plastic waste.
For the first time in the world, a microorganism has been discovered that can effectively decompose polyethylene plastics. Researchers at the Institute of Ocean Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences collected hundreds of plastic waste samples from the open waters of Shandong province in eastern China, and obtained three types of bacteria that can coexist in a stable manner and significantly decompose plastic waste.
The researchers then examined the efficiency of the reconstituted bacterial community containing these three bacteria in separation of PET and polyethylene. After that, they obtained various enzymes that can significantly decompose polyethylene plastics within 24 hours. According to the study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, it sheds light on the work that will pave the way for the development of microbial products against plastic waste.
Source: China International Radio