Scientists from Harvard University have announced that they have found bacteria that can break down plastic waste and turn it into energy. They named the new species Plastibacter harvardensis and said that it could help solve the problem of plastic pollution.
The researchers said that they discovered the bacteria by accident, when they noticed that some of their plastic lab equipment was missing. They traced the source of the disappearance to a petri dish, where they found a colony of tiny organisms munching on the plastic. They were amazed by their discovery and decided to study the bacteria further.
They found out that the bacteria have a special enzyme that allows them to digest plastic and convert it into carbon dioxide and water. They also found out that the bacteria can grow and multiply rapidly, as long as they have enough plastic to feed on. They estimated that one gram of bacteria can consume up to 10 grams of plastic per day.
The scientists said that they hope to use the bacteria to create biodegradable alternatives to plastic, or to develop ways to degrade existing plastic waste in landfills and oceans. They said that their discovery could have a huge impact on the environment and human health, as plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats facing the planet.
However, they also warned that the bacteria could pose some risks, if they escape from the lab or are misused by malicious actors. They said that the bacteria could potentially eat other types of materials, such as rubber, wood or metal, and cause damage to infrastructure and property. They also said that the bacteria could affect the balance of the ecosystem, by competing with other organisms or releasing greenhouse gases.
The scientists said that they are taking precautions to ensure the safety and security of their research, and that they are working with ethical and legal experts to regulate the use of the bacteria. They also said that they are open to collaboration with other researchers and organizations, who are interested in exploring the potential of the bacteria.