A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Method reduces plastic bottles to basic components suitable for reuse

Credit: Radulf del Maresme

Metal-organic framework used to degrade plastics

Discarded plastic bottles abound. Simple and effective methods to recycle, repurpose or reuse the omnipresent debris do not. Chemists at Northwestern University, partially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, have demonstrated that a new material referred to as a metal-organic framework -- or MOF -- can function as a stable and selective catalyst for breaking down polyester-based plastic into terephthalic acid, a chemical used in manufacturing. The method requires nothing more than the plastic debris, hydrogen and the MOF catalyst.

"We can do a lot better than starting from scratch when making plastic bottles," said Omar Farha, corresponding author of the study. "Our process is much cleaner."

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We eat and inhale thousands of bits of plastic every year. Now what?

20220112-112210gettyimages-172663184-612x612 Credit: Gettyimages

Credit: Gettyimages

Plastic isn't fantastic anymore

Scientists have found minuscule shreds of plastic everywhere – in rivers and lakes, at the bottom of the sea, on the tallest mountain on earth, blowing in the wind and moving through our food chain. Now they're trying to find out how all this plastic is affecting human health. Plastic bottles, bags and containers, toothbrushes, tires and electronics litter coastlines, float in the sea and clog landfill sites. What about the plastic waste we can't see?

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A New Super Enzyme Breaks Down Plastic 6 Times Faster!

image: pixabay.com

Scientists from the University of Portsmouth have created a new super enzyme that breaks down plastic bottles. The process is 6 times faster than before.

So far, PET plastic (recycling polyethylene terephthalate), used for the production of single-use drink bottles, carpets, and clothing, has been broken down by the PETase enzyme, engineered by the same team. Now the researchers have added another enzyme, MHETase, to the process and managed to significantly speed it up. Both enzymes were found in a plastic-eating bug discovered in 2016 at a Japanese waste site. 

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