Plastic food


When Alexander Parkes invented plastic in 1855, little did he know it would turn into a curse polluting everything it touched. It is 2010 and scientists are still trying to get rid of it. Tonnes enter the world's oceans annually and endanger marine life. A study recently pinned hope on marine microbes that colonize and decompose plastic. Researchers observed the microbial film that formed on polyethylene and broke it down. The bacteria were also substrate-specific; not all species went for polyethylene. The team plans to study more such interactions in the seabed.


Down To Earth, May 2010