7.01.2009

2 kids discover plastic-eating microbes

http://greendig.net/2-kids-discover-plastic-eating-microbes/
http://www.mnn.com/sites/default/files/plastic-bags-landfill.jpg
It’s not your average science fair when the 16-year-old winner manages to solve a global waste crisis. But such was the case at last May’s Canadian Science Fair in Waterloo, Ontario, where Daniel Burd, a high school student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, presented his research on microorganisms that can rapidly biodegrade plastic.
Now another high school student from Taiwan named Tseng I-Ching swept the Intel international Science Fair for her discovery of “red bacteria” in the intestinal lining of mealworms that can metabolize polystyrene.
[...]
The preliminary results were encouraging, so he kept at it, selecting out the most effective strains and interbreeding them. After several weeks of tweaking and optimizing temperatures Burd was achieved a 43 % degradation of plastic in six weeks, an almost inconceivable accomplishment.
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