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We Will Clean the World of Plastic Thanks to Cows

Researchers have identified bacteria in cow tummies that can decompose polyesters used in fabrics, packaging, and biodegradable bags. Animal digestive systems may hold the key to breaking down plastic, but the potential for new enzymes to break down the material is yet to be fully explored. By harnessing the enormous metabolic variety of bacteria, the new findings offer a long-term solution to the problem of plastic waste and litter management. And the most amazing factor about this discovery is that the result was almost as immediate as picking a good game when playing kasyno online and seeing the result immediately.

Because cow diets are already rich in natural plant polyesters, scientists hoped that bacteria like these could be advantageous. Animals digest their food using a microbial community that dwells in the rumen reticulum. Scientists hypothesized that polyester hydrolysis, (a chemical reaction that leads to degradation), could be aided by certain biological activities. These microbes have already been shown to help break down other materials, so the researchers figured they could do the same with plastics as well. In terms of polyesters, there are three varieties.

  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – This is a synthetic polymer used in textiles and packaging and is often known as PET.
  • Polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) – A plastic mostly used in biodegradable plastic bags (PBAT).
  • Polyethylene furanoate – This is a biobased substance (PEF) made from sustainable resources.

Research Methodology

They got the microorganisms they tested from a slaughterhouse. The liquid from the rumen was used. Then, they put that liquid and the three sorts of plastic they were testing (in powder and film forms), in a container and let it sit for a while to see how well the plastic would break down and how long it would take. Microorganisms from cow intestines were able to break down all three polymers, according to a report by these researchers. However, the plastic granules broke down faster than plastic film. More effective results were observed in the rumen fluids by Ribitsch & her colleagues when compared to research on single microorganisms. 

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This suggests that the rumen’s microbiome may benefit from the interaction of multiple enzymes, instead of a single enzyme. Ribitsch said “upscaling would be easy to foresee because of the large amount of rumen accumulating every day in slaughterhouses,” even if their work has just been done on a lab scale. She warns, however, that this type of research can be prohibitively expensive due to the high cost of laboratory equipment and the need for pre-studies to analyze microorganisms.”

It is, however, more sustainable, and eco-friendlier to find microorganisms that break down plastic among the thousands that are present in rumen fluids. Instead of coming from slaughterhouses, these may be grown in laboratories.

The race is on to find enzymes that can consume plastic as plastic pollution becomes increasingly prevalent and hazardous. The English University of Portsmouth and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory are at the forefront of this study. In September, their trans-Atlantic group of scientists developed an enzyme that can break down PET plastic into its basic components promptly.

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