Bacteria and ultraviolet light to clean ocean

Bacteria and ultraviolet light to clean ocean

January 30, 2023

Scientists have proven for the first time that microbes digest polyethylene and decompose it.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. For the first time, European biologists have shown in practice that bacteria are able to digest plastic and decompose it into carbon dioxide and other molecules.

The work of scientists from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Marine Exploration was published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, TASS writes.

“We have proven for the first time that these living creatures use polymer degradation products in their life activity”, said the institute researcher Maike Gaudrian.

Scientists have studied the interaction of Rhodococcus ruber with UV-treated plastic and believe that microbes can destroy up to 1.2 percent of the total mass of polyethylene that enters the oceans annually. The researchers plan to follow the decomposition of plastic by bacteria in natural conditions.

Recall that microplastic is considered the main pollutant of the ocean, and recently scientists have found it even in human blood. Previously, biologists found oil-eating bacteria in the Arctic, and SibFU researchers proved that bioplastics can decompose in the subarctic latitudes.

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Text: Angelica Stepanova, Photo: Olga Alexandrova

January 30, 2023

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