时间:2022-07-16 00:30
本文摘要:A student may have found a solution to one of theworlds most urgent environmental crises – breeding bacteria capable of “eating” plastic and potentially breaking it down into harmless by-products.一名学生找到了可以用来解决问题当今世界最亟待解决的环境危机的方法。


A student may have found a solution to one of theworlds most urgent environmental crises – breeding bacteria capable of “eating” plastic and potentially breaking it down into harmless by-products.一名学生找到了可以用来解决问题当今世界最亟待解决的环境危机的方法。那就是交配可以“不吃”塑料,并将其分解成有害的副产品的微生物。The microbes degrade polyethylene terephthalate– one of the worlds most common plastics, used in clothing, drinks bottles and food packaging.该微生物可以对世界上最少见的塑料——凝对苯二甲酸乙二醇酯展开水解。


该塑料经常被用作布料,饮料瓶,还有食物纸盒。It takes centuries to break down, in the meantime doing untold damage to its surroundings.这种塑料一般来说要好几百年才能水解,同时也不会对环境具有不可估量的伤害。Morgan Vague, who is studying biology at Reed College in Oregon, said the process, if sped up, could play a “big part” of solutions to the planets plastic problem, which sees millions of tonnesdumped in landfill and oceans every year.就读于俄勒冈里德学院生物专业的学生Morgan Vague,称之为如果进展加快的话,就需要解决问题世界上“大部分”的塑料问题,因为每年都有百万吨的塑料垃圾挖出或者投放海中。Around 300 million tonnes of plastic is discarded each year, and only about 10 per cent of it is recycled.每年有3亿吨塑料垃圾被弃置,其中只有10%不会循环再行利用。

“When I started learning about the statistics about all the plastic waste we have, essentially that told me we have a really serious problem here and we need some way to address it,” Ms Vague told .“当我了解到这些塑料垃圾的统计数据,我意识到问题时多么的不利,我们必须一些方法来处置,”Vague女士说。After she began learning about bacterial metabolism and “all the crazy things bacteria can do”, the student decided to find out if there were microbes out there able to degrade plastic.在自学了细菌新陈代谢并理解了“细菌可以处置这些可怕的物质之后”她要求找到否有细菌可以降解塑料。She began hunting for microbes adapted to degrade plastic in the soil and water around refineries in her hometown of Houston.于是她开始找寻她家乡休斯敦附近精炼厂旁边可以水解土壤和水中的塑料的微生物。

Taking her samples back to college in Portland, Oregon, Ms Vague began testing around 300 strains of bacteria for lipase, a fat-digesting enzyme potentially capable of breaking down plastic and making it palatable for the bacteria.她把样品送回了俄勒冈州波特兰市,Vague女士送回了300种脂肪酶细菌,把这些细菌培养成可以分解成塑料。She identified 20 that produced lipase, and of those three that boasted high levels of the enzyme.她挑其中的20种可以产生脂肪酶,其中的有三种产生的酶含量最低。Next she put the three microbes, on a forced diet of PET she cut from strips of water bottles.之后她将塑料水瓶裁成条状,将这三种新的培育的细菌放进。


She was stunned to find the bacteria worked to digest the PET.让她愤慨的是,细菌开始分解成塑料。“It looks like it breaks it down into harmless by-products that dont do any environmental damage, so right now what its doing is breaking down the hydrocarbons within the plastic, and then the bacteria is able to use that as food and fuel,” she said.“看上去细菌把塑料变为了一种有害的副产品,而且对环境会导致没任何损毁,现在显然细菌分解成塑料中碳氢化合物,细菌将其用于食物或者是燃料,“她说道。But she warned there was a “long way to go” until we will start to see the microbes eating plastic at anything like the rate useful in disposing of plastics.不过该学生说道,直到细菌分解成塑料的速度需要跟上塑料被弃置的速度,还有一段很长的路要回头,The next step, said Jay Mellies, a microbiologist who supervised MsVagues thesis, is to speed it up, improve pre-treatments on the PET to make it more palatable, and to get the bacteria to work on a variety of plastics.该学生的论文导师、微生物学家Jay Mellies说道要提升微生物的分解成的速度,下一步让细菌更加合适分解成塑料,而且限于于各种有所不同的塑料。

“The plastic problem is huge and all of us are beginning to be aware of it,” he said. “This is not going to be the total solution, but I think its going to be part of the solution.”“塑料的问题很不利,而且我们也都开始引发推崇,”他说道“这不是最完备的解决问题方式,不过我想要这项研究能解决问题一部分的问题。”Professor John McGeehan, a biologist at the University of Plymouth, who has done research into plastic-degrading enzymes, warned MsVagues research was in its early stages and more testing was needed.普利茅斯的生物学家McGeehan,之前做到过降解塑料酶的研究,规劝Vague女士,其研究还处在初级阶段,还有许多的测试要做到。“These are naturally occurring bacteria that are out there in the environment and were not looking to genetically engineer them, were just trying to isolate bacteria and then treat the plastic in a way the bacteria can naturally digest it.”“在自然环境中被来就不存在着可以降解塑料的细菌,我们不用人为的转变它们,我们只要把细菌隔绝,然后获取塑料,它们就可以自动把塑料水解。