Scientists from Austria have proven that bacteria in one of the cow’s stomach sections can process plastic. According to The Guardian, the result of the study will help solve one of the main problems of humanity.
Researchers at the Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, led by Doris Ribitsch, extracted fluid from the rumen – the largest section of a cow’s stomach – and placed three types of plastic in it in the laboratory. The experiment used PET, PBAT, and PEF, from which textiles, biodegradable bags, and bottles are made. Each plastic was presented in two states – in the form of powder and in the form of a film.
As the experiment showed, microorganisms of the rumen fluid can destroy all three types of plastic, and the process is faster with the powder. All that remains is finding the microbes responsible for processing plastic and determining the type (or types) of enzymes they produce to start producing them. Then it will already be possible to introduce this technology to enterprises as an environmentally friendly alternative to the chemical processing of plastic.
Biotechnologists have long suspected that microorganisms living in the stomachs of cattle have the potential to degrade plastic as they digest natural polyesters from the peel of apples or tomatoes every day. Doris Rubich noted that scarring fluid is still considered waste in slaughterhouses and is disposed of in huge quantities.