Students Invent Bacteria That Eat Plastic From The Oceans And Turn It Into Water









The high pollution in the oceans is a big problem on the planet. According to recent research, it is likely that in the year 2050 we will find more plastic than fish in the waters of the seas, and for this reason there are many people working to generate solutions to this problem, some very imaginative to reverse this situation.

Currently the novelty is a bacterium , developed by students Jeanny Yao and Miranda Wang , who have been developing this project since their school years and today reap the fruits of it. They already have patents and have obtained a financing of 400 thousand dollars to start developing the product. All this with only 20 years old.


They have already won 5 prizes thanks to this project, they became popular as they were the youngest to win the Perlman science prize . All thanks to its tiny bacteria capable of transforming plastic into CO2 and water. The technology is used in two ways: To clean the beaches and also to produce raw materials for clothing.

"It is practically impossible to make people stop using plastic, we need technology to break the material, and everything becomes biodegradable, " says Miranda Wang.


The development of this technology is divided into two parts: First the plastic is dissolved and the enzymes as catalyze whereby the plastic becomes highly malleable fractions. These components are placed in a biodigester station , where they behave as if they were leftovers of food. The project runs in just 24 hours, to move from plastic to water, really promising. ( Read also: Free courses taught by Harvard University )




51 comments:

  1. What happens to the bacteria when all the plastic is eaten?

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    1. Exactly, that shit is going to eat the fish too or make them sick. It’s bacteria!

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    2. Exactly, that shit is going to eat the fish too or make them sick. It’s bacteria!

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    3. Not all bacteria is bad lol.

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    4. Usually, when bacteria consume food, they produce a excretion or byproduct (such as alcohol, or vinegar, or methane) that, if they are confined in a close container, rises to levels that are toxic to them; they die.

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    5. "...the plastic is dissolved and the enzymes as catalyze whereby the plastic becomes highly malleable fractions. These components are placed in a biodigester station , where they behave as if they were leftovers of food. The project runs in just 24 hours, to move from plastic to water... "

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    6. Exactly what I just said! Creating a bacteria is never a good thing. what happens when plastic is gone? what does the "bacteria" eat then? do they just miraculously die? Or does it begin to feed on something else?

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    7. That is not how any of this works. That is not how any of this works. Not all bacteria is bad. As for what happens it depends on how it works. It could just cease to do anything until it finds more plastic. It is also highly unlikely that it is going to be thrown into the ocean and left to it's own devices considering it it used as part of a process.

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    8. Immediately thought of ice-9

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    9. Specific strains of bacteria are usually specially adapted to live off of one particular food source. The article indicates that the bacteria would be used in a controlled manner. Even if the bacteria are reintroduced into the natural environment, they will seek out a food source that has a chemical structure most similar to plastic. If it cannot find such a food source or cannot rapidly adapt to a similar food source, it will simply die out in the new environment.

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    10. Let's hope the bacteria would be contained in recycling tanks, and not unleashed directly into the ocean. Because our fish are now permeated with plastics in their tissues and this bacteria could choose to attack the Marine life.
      What is the waste byproduct of this process? Does the bacteria die, ever? What if it was accidentally released!?

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  2. Is the bacteria harmful to other organisms or essential substances?

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    1. i think they'll use the bacteria in a recycling site instead of just letting it free in nature, well thats what i would do.

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  3. They keep it in plastic 🙄

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    1. It’s probably not the same “plastic” that is used for waterbottles and such.

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  4. My question is the same as above, what happens to the bacteria, once the magic is gone. Is the bacteria harmful to other organisms?

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    1. No. Different bacterias do different things this bacteria cleans the ecosystem of plastic and makes it into water. Bacteria in your stomach breaks down food, some people run out of certain bacteria that helps them break down lactose making them lactose intolerant. Not all bacteria is bad.

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  5. I can see it being viable if you contained it in a machine used to traverse the ocean and collect plastic, and released the water after filtering it completely. But this risk doesn't ever add up to me compared to other solutions.

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  6. Stupid idea. Haven't humans learnt yet that trying to control something by introducing something else always ends in disaster. Just stop producing so much plastic and recycle, simple.

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    1. We can't recycle any longer. China used to buy our recycling but now we are over producing so most of the plastics we recycle goes straight into landfill. We definitely need a solution, I don't know if this is the right one but I'm interested to see how it will be carried out.

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    2. Has this been tested anyehere

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  7. Why tf are they not answering our questions? IS THE BACTERIA A DANGER TO OTHER CREATURES? ARE YOU WASTING YOUR TIME BY ELIMINATING ONE PROBLEM AND CREATING ANOTHER?

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    1. Specific strains of bacteria are usually specially adapted to live off of one particular food source. The article indicates that the bacteria would be used in a controlled manner. Even if the bacteria are reintroduced into the natural environment, they will seek out a food source that has a chemical structure most similar to plastic. If it cannot find such a food source or cannot rapidly adapt to a similar food source, it will simply die out in the new environment.

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  8. Speaking as someone who spent his master's degree working with microbial remediation, it is likely that the bacteria were isolated from species that were already digesting plastic in the wild, and this appears to be an experiment run in a biodigester. This is fairly low risk. The bigger question is how plastic will be collected as simply dumping bacteria into a body of water is unlikely to produce desired results.

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  9. Though plastic is a huge problem, so is CO2, which this process seems to release. Recent data suggests we are past the tipping point where we could just plant more trees to fix the C02 issue. So is there a second stage that breaks down CO2? If yes, I would like to see extended info. Otherwise it is just trading one issue for another

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  10. http://www.bluebird-electric.net/oceanography/Ocean_Plastic_International_Rescue/SeaVax_Ocean_Clean_Up_Robot_Drone_Ship_Sea_Vacuum.htm

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  11. It produce CO2! Isn’t that, besides humans, the biggest global threat we have currently?

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    1. Humans cannot affect and have not affected long-term or large scale global weather or climate patterns. Humans CAN wreak havoc on ecosystems. However, nature herself and the planet are bigger and more flexible and more adaptable than our meager destructive contributions to whatever systems-within-systems may impose upon them.

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    2. I know right! I look at photos of Beijing on a day full of pollution or the Chernobyl disaster and I think ‘it’s so silly to think humans can impact the environment! Now where is my mask so I can breathe outside?’

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    3. I am confident these intelligent young ladies
      Thought this out.

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  12. Wow the petrochemical trolls are already on the attack.

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  13. Just stop giving negative comments like you're super smart! What have you done to solving this problem cause by plastic so far? Yeah, that's what I thought.. nothing!
    They have awards that's been given by experts in its fields, so just give them a chance for now will you?? Jeez..

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  14. Very interesting. However, Always look out for law of unintended consequences

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  15. Why are people hating so much??? It's not like this is a definite solution and probably a baby step to ensuring that whatever bacteria is released into nature won't have a catastrophe.

    Considering how much plastic we use especially in north America, this is amazing! I can't wait to see more regarding this!!!

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  16. It and when that finally happens (more bacteria then plastic is the likely scenario)... it will evolve and go after something else. What that is at this point... only God knows.

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  17. Humans cannot affect and haven’t affected long-term or large-scale global weather or climate patterns.

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    1. You either own oil stock or never took science

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  18. Just as there is bad bacteria, there is good bacteria. Has your doctor never told you to eat yogurt or take a probiotic when on antibiotics? It is because antibiotics not only kill the bad bacteria in your body, but also the good. And yogurts and probiotics are to replace the good bacteria in your body that helps with digestion. What they created is a good bacteria that just helps with the digestion of the plastic.

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  19. Do some research, people. They're not going to release bacteria into the ocean or even use bacteria in the process. They studied the bacteria for the mechanism it uses to break down the process and then their startup has been about synthesizing a catalyst that can do this more efficiently and at scale.

    To use this on all the plastic already in our oceans, they'll need to collect that plastic first. Their pitch is this can make plastic recycling so much more energy and economically efficient, reclaiming the plastic may become cheaper than producing new plastic.

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    1. Where do I find such research..im actually quite interested in following

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  20. *Feed me plastic* giant swimming bacteria hitting the shores of major cities demanding to be fed. It'll eat giant plastic pizza's, plastic ice-cream cones, plastic seats, plastic billboards, plastic women's toys, and it just grows bigger.

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  21. So if this were released in the ocean waters, what about smaller boats and bouies, plus other such objects that aren't trash that are used?

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  22. Ive switched majors have always been interested..im just as interested as sustainability as any other...youre rudeness is uncalled for

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  23. Hi
    I'm here
    I will eat that bacteria
    Plastics in my stomach

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  24. Good question: Is this bacterium harmless to see life....

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  25. Before this bacterium is put into wide spread use, I hope there is a broad faced study for the adverse side of introducing it to the environment. I still remember some insecticides that were lauded as the discovery of the century; DDT, Chlordane, Diazinon ...

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  26. If you had any clou you'd see (harmlessly) that these bacteria were not invented, but collected from plastic polluted environments. They are out there already. Selective breeding of these strains made the digestion of plastic more efficient.

    So what happens if all the plastics run out? Other bacteria that use other, still available sources of nourishment will multiply more rapidly than the ones specialised on plastics. The plastic specialist will adept or perish, as all life is doing all the time.

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  27. Everyone keeps commenting that it turns plastic into water, but what about the other byproduct, CO2? Seems to me that I heard something about that being bad to be released, something about a greenhouse gas.

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