The idea of scientists from the University of Life Sciences in Wrocław may be a salvation for the environment filled with plastic – informs the university. Researchers want to find microorganisms that will break down plastic, and then clone the enzymes they produce into yeast. And these would “eat” plastic, that is, purify – for example sewage – much more efficiently than chemical or physical methods.
Scientists from Wrocław want plastic not to harm the planet as much as it does today. The project aimed at finding microorganisms that break down plastic and cloning the enzymes they produce into yeasts is conducted by the team of Dr. Piotr Biniarz from the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Sciences at the University of Life Sciences in Wrocław.
– At present, treating microplastics wastewater, for example, chemically or physically, can be problematic. The yeasts we created would, in turn, do it efficiently and by the way. And this would significantly reduce the amount of plastic in the environment – emphasized Biniarz.
“Plastics disassembled this way will disappear”
Scientists from Wrocław want to collect and examine samples from various environments to find so far unknown microorganisms that break down plastics, such as nylon, polystyrene, polyurethane or polypropylene. – Plastics decomposed in this way will disappear, because they are fed to microorganisms that can eat such small particles – explains Biniarz.
The next step is to clone the enzymes produced by these microorganisms into fast-growing yeasts (Yarrowia lipolytica). Scientists assume that yeasts will be able to both efficiently produce enzymes and grow directly on waste or municipal wastewater, removing microplastics from it.
The project was co-financed with over PLN 1.1 million from the SONATINA 5 program, from the National Science Center. The project of Wrocław scientists is to be carried out until 2024.
PAP, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences
Main photo source: University of Life Sciences in Wroclaw