According from the researchers of the biology department of the University of the Philippines-Baguio have discovered four strains of bacteria that are capable of biodegrading low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which is commonly used for plastic bags, cling wrap, shampoo bottles and other containers.
It was said that these microorganisms capable of “eating” plastic have been discovered in a hyperalkaline spring in Zambales, paving the way for research on new approaches to dealing with the country’s growing plastic problem.
The said study of Denisse Yans dela Torre, Lee delos Santos, Mari Louise Reyes and Ronan Baculi, was published in the Philippine Science Letters last year revealed this bacteria. According to them, some bacterial strains collected from rock crevices of the Poon Bato spring in Botolan, Zambales are capable of degrading LDPE, which is highly resistant to degradation under natural conditions.
According to the office of UP Vice President,
“Results revealed changes in physical structure and also chemical composition of the films. Another method which determined plastic utilization of the bacteria was the evident decrease in the weight of the films.”
They also added that,
“Protein analysis also indicated that bacterial cells could live and proliferate with films as the source of energy. Looking at the physical and chemical changes of the plastics before and after some time with the bacterial isolates, it was deduced that these minute organisms can possibly end plastic domination by making a meal out of it.”
The researchers said the LDPE degradation capability of the bacterial strains may be due to the extreme conditions, particularly the hyperalkaline environment, that they thrive in. They also mentioned that with plastics emerging as a major environmental issue in the country and across the globe, the researchers said their discovery may be used in addressing the problem.
The said group of researchers wrote on their paper that,
“This study demonstrated the ability of the isolates to degrade polyethylene even in the absence of prior oxidation treatments.”
They also wrote that,
“The results showed that selected microorganisms exhibited great potential for LDPE biodegradation, a discovery which can be used in reducing solid waste currently accumulating in natural environments.”
This researchers are indeed all good and yes maybe their discovery can be our solution for the growing issues we have about plastics.