Plastic-eating bacteria turn waste into useful starting materials for other products

These beads contain engineered E. coli that efficiently transform PET waste into a high-value compound (Illustration: ACS Central Science 2023, DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.3c00414)

November 1 2023 – Mountains of used plastic bottles get thrown away every day, but microbes could potentially tackle this problem. Now, researchers in ACS Central Science report that they’ve developed a plastic-eating E. coli that can efficiently turn polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste into adipic acid, which is used to make nylon materials, drugs and fragrances.

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