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Plastic Decaying Bacteria Discovered

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The important cause of pollution especially land and water pollution is the non -bio degradable Plastics. The most important bio discovery of the century has come with the discovery of bacteria that can decompose Plastics

Plastics to become decomposable:Plastic Decaying Bacteria Discovered

The Japan researchers have discovered a new species of bacteria that is capable of breaking down Polyethylene terephthalate or PET in short

Background of the discovery

250 debris contaminated samples were taken for research. It was noted that some microorganisms were attached to the primary surface of the PET. Later after 6 weeks thin grade of PET was decomposed. This led to the identification of particular bacteria that decays PET.

Mechanism of decay

  • The consortium containing the bacteria was isolated and it was identified as Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6
  • The bacterium degrades PET using two enzymes that act on it in sequence.
  • First, the bacterium adheres to PET and produces an intermediate substance through hydrolysis.
  • The second enzyme then works with water and acts on this intermediate substance to produce the two monomers — ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid

Points to know

  • The bacteria decomposes plastic at 30°C and it converts 70% into carbon at 28°C
  • PET entered into human environment 70 years ago
  • 56 million of PET was produced in 2013
  • The Research paper has been published in Journal Science and Shosuke Yoshida is the first author of the paper