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May 15, 2024

The Future of Bacteria

Carpenter, Thomas

With the increasing amount of plastic polluting our earth, scientists engineered a new way to help stop this from worsening the climate crisis.  

By using the bacteria found in soil, Pseudomonas putida, James Collins and Ting Lu, along with the help of others, have designed these strains of bacteria to creatively reuse polyethylene terephthalate, which is the most common plastic found in most objects. “Each strain processed the breakdown of one of the two products produced by chemical plastic breakdown—terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol” according to  

The combined strains were found to be more productive and efficient in the way they can process materials, compared to the individual strains that processed two products at a time. The plastic was then converted into biodegradable polymer, which synthesizes polyurethane and adipic acids.  

This type of research and engineering can affect the climate crisis the world is suffering and can eventually lead to the reuse of other types of plastic as well. This is especially help with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a collection of ocean debris and litter and spans from the West Coast of North America to Japan. 

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