This bacteria munches on plastic waste.
Scientists have recently discovered a bacteria that consume PET, polyethylene terephthalate which is found in regular plastic we use for our packaging, clothes and cutlery. Generally this hard plastic takes more than 800 years to degrade into the soil, but it still leaches into the land and water. However its timid resistance still falls weak with few microbes which dissolve it.
The Japanese research team from Kyoto Institute of Technology and Keio University collected PET-contaminated samples including sediment, soil and wastewater from a plastic bottle recycling site. They eventually found that discovered that just certain type of bacteria was responsible for the PET degradation. They named it Ideonella sakainesis.
Over the course of time the bacteria breaks the plastic to water and MHETase enzyme. This enzyme is hydrolyzed to monomers which serves required carbon for the bacteria’s growth. Researches predicted that it takes upto 6 weeks and a steady temperature of 30 degrees celsius.
There is more research happening to see if this occurs commonly in nature and how can we use it for our benefit to degrade the plastic piles polluting our lands and oceans.
Plastic + Bacteria + Time = Water + Degradation