Japan scientists identify plastic eating bacteria

Japan scientists identify plastic eating bacteria
Highlights

A team of scientists in Japan has identified a species of plastic-eating bacteria, isolated from outside a bottle-recycling facility, a finding that might help solve the growing plastic pollution problem. Poly(ethylene terephthalate), or PET, is a type of polymer used extensively worldwide in plastic products, and its accumulation in the environment has become a global concern.

Tokyo: A team of scientists in Japan has identified a species of plastic-eating bacteria, isolated from outside a bottle-recycling facility, a finding that might help solve the growing plastic pollution problem. Poly(ethylene terephthalate), or PET, is a type of polymer used extensively worldwide in plastic products, and its accumulation in the environment has become a global concern.

The proliferation of plastics in consumer products, from bottles to clothing, has resulted in the release of countless tonnes of plastics into the environment.

About 56 million tonnes of PET was produced worldwide in 2013 alone, and the accumulation of PET in ecosystems around the globe is increasingly problematic, researchers said. To date, very few species of fungi - but no bacteria - have been found to break down PET.

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