Biochemical degradation of plastics (phthalates)

Speaker: Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao

Length: 9:21

Rating 3 / 5

Summary

Plastic waste is everywhere, and a pair of high schoolers investigated bacteria that can degrade phthalates – a toxic component of plastic. They identified and isolated bacteria from a contaminated river that could already degrade phthalates, and found similar bacteria in landfill sites – showing bacterial are evolving to live off phthalates. They conclude we should investigate further bacteria to degrade solid waste

Critique

I think the big new point here is that bacteria exposed to phthalates have evolved to consume the toxic chemicals. The pair are obviously talented, and it will be interesting to see what future discoveries they uncover.