While scientists all over the world are arguing about how to deal with millions of tons of plastic waste, a group of researchers from the Kyoto Institute of Technology, led by Dr. Shosuke Yoshida, discovered unusual bacteria among 250 samples of debris near one of the PET waste recycling plants.
Bacteria were found in the soil among silt and other organic deposits and actually fed on plastic waste, receiving energy from them and replenishing carbon stocks. Later, already in the laboratory, bacteria placed in a plastic bottle “ate” it for several weeks.
This “healthy appetite” is based on enzymes produced by the bacterium Ideonella sakaiensis, which, according to scientists, has become the “answer” of nature to the emergence of a huge amount of plastic waste .
Fungi, eating plastic, were found before, but they were not able to breed them on an industrial scale. The Japanese scientist identified a bacterial gene responsible for the production of enzymes. Now science has an effective tool for the disposal of plastic waste.