Specific Bacteria Can Eat Away Plastic

Specific Bacteria Can Eat Away Plastic
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You know what they say, the world is your oyster… unless, of course, it’s covered in plastic. Sadly, that seems to be the case these days, as plastic pollution has reached epic proportions. It’s like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch decided to take over the entire planet.

We’re talking about plastic bags, bottles, straws, packaging, and all sorts of other single-use items that are clogging up our oceans, rivers, and beaches. And it’s not just unsightly; it’s downright dangerous. Marine animals like sea turtles, fish, and whales are mistaking plastic for food and ingesting it, which can lead to various problems.

But it’s not just the sea creatures that are suffering. Plastic pollution is affecting the entire ecosystem, from the tiniest plankton to the mightiest whales. It’s even making its way into our own food chain, which means we could be eating microplastics without even knowing it.

Rhodococcus ruber can digest polyethylene (PE) plastic

Every day, more and more synthetic stuff is making its way into our oceans and seas, like some sort of plastic invasion. But where does it all go? Some of it sinks to the depths, some washes up on the shore, but a lot of it just disappears into thin air, or should we say water.

It’s like a game of plastic hide and seek, and we’re not quite sure who’s winning. But some clever researchers have uncovered a possible culprit, a sneaky little marine bacteria known as Rhodococcus rubber, as ScienceAlert reveals. It seems this tiny microbe has developed a taste for polyethylene, the most commonly produced plastic in the world, often used in packaging. It’s like a plastic buffet for these bacteria, and they’re feasting on it.

We can all do our part to reduce plastic pollution. Start by refusing single-use items whenever possible, like straws, plastic bags, and coffee cups. Instead, bring your own reusable containers, bags, and utensils. Also, reduce your overall consumption of plastic by buying products with minimal packaging, and recycling as much as you can.

The new study appears in Marine Pollution Bulletin.


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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