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New hope for recycling PET plastic


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Yeah, bacteria evolve very quickly to deal with changes in their environment... And the abundance of inedible plastics made them evolve to eat said plastic.

That sounds amazing in concept, but also terrifying: We rely on a lot of things made of plastic specifically because they don't biodegrade easily. If bacteria start eating things we don't want them to, it can cause problems.

Just look at the insulation for electrical wiring. We don't want bacteria eating that, especially if that bacteria gets out into the wild. And don't even get me started on things like hermetically sealed structures...

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4 hours ago, Amaroq_Starwind said:

Yeah, bacteria evolve very quickly to deal with changes in their environment... And the abundance of inedible plastics made them evolve to eat said plastic.

That sounds amazing in concept, but also terrifying: We rely on a lot of things made of plastic specifically because they don't biodegrade easily. If bacteria start eating things we don't want them to, it can cause problems.

Just look at the insulation for electrical wiring. We don't want bacteria eating that, especially if that bacteria gets out into the wild. And don't even get me started on things like hermetically sealed structures...

It can be controlled use only and not in the wild to be damaging.

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14 hours ago, sman said:

It can be controlled use only and not in the wild to be damaging.

Your faith in human nauture (and human control) is touchingly naive.

If such a bacteria exists someone will 'dump' it on a landfill site to eat the pastic there, (possibly a well meaning greenie activist, more likely the waste managment company, or the well meaning government).

Scavenging birds on the landfil will pick it up on their feet and in their digestive tracts, then fly to the next landfill, the bins in the next town, etc. - and it's out in the world to spread unchecked and digest wanted as well as unwanted plastics.
Oh, and being a bacteria it WILL mutate/evolve to digest other types of polymer and not just PET.

Edited by nukecad
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4 minutes ago, nukecad said:

Your faith in human nauture (and human control) is touchingly naive.

If such a bacteria exists someone will 'dump' it on a landfill site to eat the pastic there, (possibly a well meaning greenie).

Scavenging birds will pick it up on their feet and in their digestive tracts, then fly to the next landfill, the bins in the next town, etc. - and it's out in the world to spread unchecked and digest wanted as well as unwanted plastics.
Oh, and being a bacteria it WILL mutate/evolve to digest other types of polymer and not just PET.

Hmm. Only the researchers can confirm , how far their findings can be put to use  w/o any adverse impact.

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"Researchers" have no say in it.
Other than not being so stupid/naive as to create such a thing in the first place.

We are seeing at the moment a prime example of just how little control we humans have over the spread of viruses and bacteria.

Then of course there will always be some idiot who would want to use it as a weapon.
A polymer eating bacteria could bring any technological nation to it's knees. (Which some would welcome).

 

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21 hours ago, nukecad said:

"Researchers" have no say in it.
Other than not being so stupid/naive as to create such a thing in the first place.

We are seeing at the moment a prime example of just how little control we humans have over the spread of viruses and bacteria.

Then of course there will always be some idiot who would want to use it as a weapon.
A polymer eating bacteria could bring any technological nation to it's knees. (Which some would welcome).

 

We all go fr probiotics which is good fr health, there will always be both types to anything , it all depends how we use it fr betterment.

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If you want this kind of bacteria to actually be helpful, and safe, you would need to genetically modify it so that it cannot survive in an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere. You'd also need to flood the surrounding terrain with a complex combination of antibiotics (many kinds), bacteriophages (to kill any bacteria that became antibiotic-resistant), antibodies to fight those bacteriophages if they themselves get out of control, and benign bacteria that can crowd out the more dangerous bacteria that you're trying to keep in check.

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3 hours ago, Amaroq_Starwind said:

If you want this kind of bacteria to actually be helpful, and safe, you would need to genetically modify it so that it cannot survive in an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere. You'd also need to flood the surrounding terrain with a complex combination of antibiotics (many kinds), bacteriophages (to kill any bacteria that became antibiotic-resistant), antibodies to fight those bacteriophages if they themselves get out of control, and benign bacteria that can crowd out the more dangerous bacteria that you're trying to keep in check.

Hmm. A case fr study indeed but too early to right off w/o the last word frm researchers.

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Ask an Austrailian about rabbits, or anyone about Japanese Knotweed.

Whole orders of scale bigger than bacteria and we can't control their spread.

"Researchers" aren't gods or supermen, they are people just like the rest of us.

I was a design engineer working on nuclear sites, so probably some would say a 'boffin' - I still make mistakes, I still go to the toilet , I still get drunk occasionally, just like anyone else.
One thing I'd hope not to do is mistakenly (with good but misguided intentions) release a possible menace on the world.

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1 hour ago, nukecad said:

Ask an Austrailian about rabbits, or anyone about Japanese Knotweed.

Whole orders of scale bigger than bacteria and we can't control their spread.

"Researchers" aren't gods or supermen, they are people just like the rest of us.

I was a design engineer working on nuclear sites, so probably some would say a 'boffin' - I still make mistakes, I still go to the toilet , I still get drunk occasionally, just like anyone else.
One thing I'd hope not to do is mistakenly (with good but misguided intentions) release a possible menace on the world.

Well. Anything against nature is going to hurt mankind no doubt. If something can be done to minimise/undo any of the damage will be a welcome. Let's hope solutions do come up to save mankind.

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