Engineered Organism Breaks Down Plastic To Reduce Pollution

Scientists genetically modified marine organisms to breakdown plastics inside salt water, according to a new study.

The researchers from the NC State University worked on two different bacteria, which were modified to function as plastic-destroyers in salt water.

Two Species of Bacteria

Scientists involved in the study selected two species of bacteria, 1) Vibrio natriegens and Ideonella sakaiensis. The first species is remarkable because it lives in salty water and secondly, it reproduces quickly.

The second species was important because it produces enzymes that break down polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic used in almost everything. The scientists took the DNA from the second species and incorporated it in genes that can replicate quickly inside cells. 

First Engineered Organism To Eat Plastic

The leading author of the study Tianyu Li said it is the first ever genetically engineered organism that has plastic-eating capabilities.

The researchers said that it was an inexpensive way to reduce the contamination and pollution of water, which directly threatens the lives of living organisms.

Reference: The research study was published in AIChE

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