Bugs across globe are evolving to eat plastic, study findsPosted on December 17, 2021 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News
Microbes in oceans and soils across the globe are evolving to eat plastic, according to a study.
The research scanned more than 200m genes found in DNA samples taken from the environment and found 30,000 different enzymes that could degrade 10 different types of plastic.
The study is the first large-scale global assessment of the plastic-degrading potential of bacteria and found that one in four of the organisms analysed carried a suitable enzyme. The researchers found that the number and type of enzymes they discovered matched the amount and type of plastic pollution in different locations.
The results “provide evidence of a measurable effect of plastic pollution on the global microbial ecology”, the scientists said.
Millions of tonnes of plastic are dumped in the environment every year, and the pollution now pervades the planet, from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans. Reducing the amount of plastic used is vital, as is the proper collection and treatment of waste.