Skip to comments.Plastic Eaters
Posted on 06/17/2008 5:22:19 AM PDT by Renfield
The problem and plague of plastic bags was eating away at Daniel Burd. So, for his science fair project he decided to find out what eats away at plastic bags.
After testing various methods and reaching the formidable goal of isolating two strains of plastic-eating microorganisms (Sphingomonas and Pseudomonas), Burd found that plastic bags could be significantly decomposed in about six weeks, with total decomposition taking around three months.
Scaling this to industrial applications should be easy, Burd says: "all that's needed is a fermenter, a growth medium and plastic, and the bacteria themselves provide most of the energy by producing heat as they eat."
While many places around the world have already banned the use of plastic bags, existing bags still threaten waters, wildlife and the planet, and can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Approximately 500 billion plastic bags are produced each year and the UN Environment Program estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter in every square mile of ocean.
Burd's discovery provides significant steps forward and he has recieved $30,000 in awards and scholarships for his work.
Interesting. The article should have gone on to say what the bags decompose to. The products might be useful, as ethanol, a decomposition product of grain and many other substances, is.
We will grow these bugs, and make them more robust, and more voracious and then the altered bugs will escape.
We are also genetically altering e-coli bacteria to consume cellulose (to convert to ethanol) and are making them more robust so that they can compete against other bacteria during the fermentation process ... when they are eventually robust enough, these modified e-coli will escape the confines of the ethanol plants and will begin to consume trees/grasses/crops, etc.
Vinyl is slightly different from polyethylene (from which the bags are made). It’ll take several mutations for the bacteria to adapt and start eating vinyl...maybe you should’ve bought brick?
By about the fourth mutation, that etc. will include humans, and the Overpopulation types will soon have a new worry on their hands.