At the bottom of the earth’s oceans is a huge amountplastic trash, which is able to maintain its structure and does not decompose for almost 1000 years. People are already unlikely to correct their mistake and clean the planet, so it remains to hope only for outside help. It can come from a completely unexpected side, for example, from marine microbes that actively consume plastic waste and clean the oceans. Researchers from the Cretan Institute of Technology Education have decided to find out how well they cope with this matter.
It is known that as soon as plastic gets intothe ocean, it is exposed to salt water, ultraviolet radiation and temperature fluctuations. In addition to this, various microbes accumulate on it, which use it as a substrate and carbon source. Knowing this, the researchers came to the conclusion that if they can find out which microbes eat plastic better and form stronger films, the planet will be able to quickly get rid of debris.
To follow the process of eating plastic,Researchers collected samples of polyethylene and polystyrene from two beaches in Greece. The crushed plastic fragments were soaked in saline solution, which provided marine conditions. Subsequently, two types of materials were subjected to two different groups of microbes: one strain was taken from ordinary sea water, and the other was modified to form more durable biofilms.
Five months later, researchers found thatstandard microbes destroyed 11% polystyrene, and 7% polyethylene. Modified microbes did not prove to be more voracious, but they actually formed more durable films. Also, the researchers found that if you use strains that have previously participated in such experiments, they quickly eat the waste - each time they seem to develop their appetite.
Fortunately, many people are already well aware ofplastic trash hazard. Some countries are already actively recycling plastic bottles, and Norway is particularly successful in this - the last report showed that it processes 97% of plastic waste.
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