At the bottom of the earth’s oceans lies a huge amount of plastic waste, which is able to maintain its structure and not to degrade almost 1000 years. People are unlikely to be able to correct his mistake and clean up the planet, so the only hope for assistance. It can come from an unexpected side, for example, from the marine microbes that consume active recycling and clean oceans. Researchers from Institute of Crete technological education decided to find out how well they cope with this case.
It is known that once plastic enters the ocean, it is exposed to salt water, UV radiation and temperature fluctuations. In addition, it accumulates different kinds of microbes that use it as substrate and carbon source. Knowing this, the researchers came to the conclusion that if they can figure out what germs better eat the plastic and form a more durable film, the faster planet will be cleansed of debris.
To follow the process of eating plastic, the researchers collected samples of polyethylene and polystyrene with two beaches in Greece. Shredded plastic fragments were soaked in a saline solution, which provided sea conditions. Subsequently, two kinds of materials were subjected to two different groups of microbes: one strain was derived from normal sea water, and the other was modified for the formation of more robust biofilms.
Five months later, the researchers found that standard microbes destroyed 11% polystyrene and 7% polyethylene. Modified microbes turned out to be more voracious, but really formed a stronger film. The researchers also found that if you use strains that have already participated in similar experiments, the faster they feed on the waste each time that they develop their appetite.
Fortunately, many people are already well aware of the danger of plastic waste. Some countries are already actively recycle plastic bottles, and especially in this case succeeds Norway — the last report showedthat it recycles 97% of plastic waste.
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