Degradation of polyethylene—not a myth?


I recently talked with some U.K. students who believe a solution to reducing plastic waste is to plant polystyrene.

The central aim of the project is to try to isolate the genes that encode the polystyrene digesting pathway that allows microbes to use polystyrene as their sole carbon source. They will then use a synthetic biology technique to isolate the genes involved to create a genetically engineered machine cell that can degrade polystyrene.

It's a pretty fascinating endeavor because not only does it show students interested in plastics, it can also be a potential positive development for recycling packaging waste
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