The bacterium, Ideonella sakaiensis, was found outside of a bottle recycling plant. The pathogen appears to have evolved a pair of enzymes it uses to break down PET.
The University of Hull’s Mark Lorch, who wasn’t involved in the study, wrote for The Conversation:
“You may think this is the rerun of an old story, as plastic-eating microbes have already been touted as saviors of the planet. But there are several important differences here. First, previous reports were of tricky-to-cultivate fungi, where in this case the microbe is easily grown. The researchers more or less left the PET in a warm jar with the bacterial culture and some other nutrients, and a few weeks later all the plastic was gone.”
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