Scientists have discovered a group of special microbes that have a big appetite for plastic. But here’s the twist: these tiny superheroes can gobble up plastic even when it’s really chilly outside!
The clever researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute WSL were exploring microbes in Greenland, Svalbard, and Switzerland when they made this amazing discovery. They found out that these microbes can break down plastic at temperatures as low as 15 degrees Celsius. That’s like enjoying a picnic on a cool spring day!
Usually, scientists thought microbes only liked to snack on plastic when it was hot, around 30 degrees Celsius. But these little munchers proved everyone wrong. This is fantastic news because it could help us recycle plastic even better in the future!
The scientists collected samples of 34 different types of microbes, including 19 types of bacteria and 15 types of fungi. They took these samples from plastic buried in the ground for a whole year. Then, they brought them to their laboratory and let them grow in the dark at 15 degrees Celsius. It was like a cozy hotel for microbes!
Guess what? The results were astonishing! While the microbes couldn’t chomp on a plastic called Polyethylene, they successfully devoured polyester-polyurethane and other biodegradable plastic mixtures. Two types of fungi even became the superheroes of plastic-munching!
These little heroes are still unnamed, but they can eat almost any plastic thrown their way. They might just save the day and help us fight plastic pollution! So, let’s cheer for these amazing microbes and hope they continue to work their magic, making our planet cleaner and greener.