CR4® - The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion®


Previous in Forum: What Thesis Topic to be Chosen for M.Tech. in Power Systems ?   Next in Forum: Water From Air
Close
Close
Close
10 comments
Guru
CR4 Admins - CR4 Moderator - CR4 Moderator United States - Member - New Member Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Technical Fields - Education - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: East Greenbush, NY
Posts: 755
Good Answers: 14

PET-Plastic-Eating Bacteria

04/05/2016 11:11 AM

We've heard for years about ideas for using bacteria to help clean up our environment, particularly for eradicating oil spills or consuming post-consumer waste. Some microbes have already been identified that can break down plastics (see here and here and here, for example). This article in Live Science reports on the isolation of a new bacteria species that apparently can convert PET plastic, which is highly resistant to breakdown, into CO2 and H2O. This is a major step forward, since PET accounts for about 1/6 of all plastic produced (based on data in the Live Science article).

But will this contribute a lot of extra CO2 to the atmosphere and thus exacerbate climate change? Could be we solve one problem and create another one.

Register to Reply
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 19474
Good Answers: 1141
#1

Re: PET-Plastic-Eating Bacteria

04/05/2016 11:28 AM

Grey Goo....

__________________
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. A.E.
Register to Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that, still doing it. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 12264
Good Answers: 774
#2

Re: PET-Plastic-Eating Bacteria

04/05/2016 11:32 AM

It seems that every act has a drawback and an advantage. I use this observation in my engineering. I will not commit to a design approach until I can recognize at least some of the drawbacks. I'm pleased when I find the only obvious drawbacks are trivial inconveniences.

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Register to Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Indeterminate Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: In the bothy, 7 chains down the line from Dodman's Lane level crossing, in the nation formerly known as Great Britain, and now disconnecting ["brexit" - ugh] as Little England and Wales (not too sure about Wales bit, either). Kettle's on.
Posts: 26794
Good Answers: 703
#3

Re: PET-Plastic-Eating Bacteria

04/05/2016 11:34 AM

<...will this contribute a lot of extra CO2 to the atmosphere...> The quantity will be 44/12 of the mass of carbon in the material minus that quantity involved in growth of the organisms during that period.

__________________
"Did you get my e-mail?" - "The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" - George Bernard Shaw, 1856
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 5812
Good Answers: 589
#4

Re: PET-Plastic-Eating Bacteria

04/05/2016 1:54 PM

This could be a classic example of "Be careful what you wish for". It's very easy for things that are alive to get out of control. Live things mutate in ways to aid their own survival.

Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - DIY Welding - Wannabeabettawelda

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Annapolis, Maryland
Posts: 4207
Good Answers: 237
#5
In reply to #4

Re: PET-Plastic-Eating Bacteria

04/05/2016 5:40 PM

Yeah, just look at what happened with homo sapiens.

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 40058
Good Answers: 1598
#6

Re: PET-Plastic-Eating Bacteria

04/05/2016 6:06 PM

There are those here who would argue that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by Al Gore and the gov'ment as a power grab.

Oh, and fracking doesn't cause earthquakes either.

What does "isolation of a new bacteria species" mean?

Did these bacteria evolve because PET is everywhere?

Can they be cultivated?

Genetically modified to enhance their population?

I'd think it would be simple enough to monitor the by-products to determine the impact of this.

Most here are of an age that we won't live to see what we have done to the Earth, but I fear what we will leave behind for our progeny. Asthma and COPD are already far worse than they were 30-40 years ago.

If you visited Los Angeles in the 1950's and your eyes burned and you couldn't breath, did you worry about your future.

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Out of your mind! Not in sight!
Posts: 4089
Good Answers: 92
#7

Re: PET-Plastic-Eating Bacteria

04/05/2016 11:12 PM

The world will vanish and we can claim it was those pesky bacteria we put on the job.

Some things outstanding:

  1. Why do we need to break it down? How about separation, containment and so on?
  2. What about reduction efforts for PET products?
  3. substitution?
  4. elimination?

Of course for 3 and 4 we have to evaluate the possible impact on society and nature.
All this can and should be done without thinking about the so called "Climate Change".Why would you be worried about it if you have not done point 1 and 2 yet? And even then you have been around long enough to know what a debate you can trigger with this reference to "climate change".

__________________
Common Sense Dictates
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 839
Good Answers: 33
#8

Re: PET-Plastic-Eating Bacteria

04/13/2016 4:00 PM

How much of it is unavailable for standard recycling?

Register to Reply
Participant

Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 2
#9

Re: PET-Plastic-Eating Bacteria

04/25/2016 12:03 AM

Yes, bacteria has a lot of uses not only for our daily life, but also for the scientific research. For instance the bacterial expression system.

__________________
No pains, no gains.-Creative BioMart.
Register to Reply
Participant

Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 3
#10

Re: PET-Plastic-Eating Bacteria

07/24/2017 4:21 AM

Bacteria are beneficial to the study of science and medicine, and are helpful to other industries 192.168.1.1

Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Register to Reply 10 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Brave Sir Robin (1); C-Mac (1); Caroline91 (1); IdeaSmith (1); Idonia (1); lyn (1); PWSlack (1); redfred (1); Rixter (1); SolarEagle (1)

Previous in Forum: What Thesis Topic to be Chosen for M.Tech. in Power Systems ?   Next in Forum: Water From Air

Advertisement