Help maybe at hand to recycle plastic bottles.

An article published on the New Scientist website this month highlights research that has discovered a strain of bacteria that could make recycling PET (polyethyleneterephthalate) drinks bottles more lucrative. These are a strain of pseudomonas bacteria that can change the low value PET into higher value PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates) plastics some of which are used in the production of medical devices. According to Wikipedia PHAs are polyesters that are ‘produced in nature by the bacterial fermentation of sugars and lipids’.
The incentive to recycle the billions of PET bottles produced is currently low because the low value PET is recycled to more PET. Now, a team of researchers in Dublin, may have found a way to convert this low value plastic into higher grade PHA. By heating the PET in the absence of oxygen they break it down into terephthalic acid (TA). They then found a strain of bacteria which will convert this into PHA.
Not only would this reduce the amount going to landfill it could also make recycling more profitable – maybe mining landfills for plastics will come a step closer after all.

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