Friday, March 11, 2016

Bacteria Is Evolving to Eat Plastic

PET was only invented about 70 years ago. That means the bacteria must have evolved the ability to consume the plastic over the intervening decades. The results are published in Science.
I don't want to say 'I told you so', but I kind of called this one.

As I keep saying, yes of course, plastic is a huge problem that we shouldn't necessarily ignore, but nature (and evolution) are fascinating, and work on dizzyingly short timescales. In the second case of finding 'fauna' capable of digesting plastics so far (a fungus being the first, as mentioned in the linked article), bacteria have proven themselves to be unbelievably adaptable in even a short amount of time (plastic was invented less than 100 years ago).

When humans first started domesticating cattle, and really began using their milk into adulthood for sustenance, humans in Western Europe quickly gained the ability to process lactose, to the point that pockets in much of the world have no problem eating milk and cheeses. Evolution is amazing!

> Scientists Have Discovered a Bacteria That's Evolved to Eat Plastic