Seaweed eating microbes used to make bioplastic
Every year, eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean, but a special seaweed munching microbe could be a sustainable alternative.
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Every year, eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean, but a special seaweed munching microbe could be a sustainable alternative.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University studied the potential use of Ulva lactuca algae as a sustainable alternative for large-scale production of biopolymers.
According to the paper published in the journal Science Direct, the research team cultivated the Ulva lactuca algae, also known as sea lettuce, and fed it to a single-cell organism called Haloferax mediterranei.
The single cell organism then discharged a bioplastic polymer called polyhydroxyalkanoate, or PHA.
PHA is a completely biosynthetic and biodegradable bioplastic polymer. Products made of PHA generate zero toxic waste and are completely recyclable into organic waste.
According to New Atlas, current biodegradable products aren't entirely eco-friendly as making them requires large amounts of natural resources like fertile soil and fresh water.
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