Saturday, May 24, 2008

Teenager solves never-decomposing plastic dilemma

From Wired, "Teen Decomposes Plastic Bag in Three Months":

The Record reports that Burd mixed landfill dirt with yeast and tap water, then added ground plastic and let it stew. The plastic indeed decomposed more quickly than it would in nature; after experimenting with different temperatures and configurations, Burd isolated the microbial munchers. One came from the bacterial genus Pseudomonas, and the other from the genus Sphingomonas.

Burd says this should be easy on an industrial scale: all that's needed is a fermenter, a growth medium and plastic, and the bacteria themselves provide most of the energy by producing heat as they eat. The only waste is water and a bit of carbon dioxide.


Dano said...

This is good, as the genus Pseudomonas is ubiquitous.



APH said...

very cool!
Maybe the kid can figure out how to make ethanol from plastic.