Employees of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University have developed a new strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa that collects and destroys microplastics.
Associate professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Liu Yang and his colleagues have edited the genome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that can form difficult-to-dissolve biofilms on the surface of various materials, such as plastic medical devices in hospitals.
The authors decided to use bacteria to collect and dispose of microplastics. They modified the genome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in such a way that bacteria began to colonize microplastic particles especially actively.
Also, now, with the help of simple chemical signals, it will be possible to start the process of destruction of the biofilm. This way you can separate debris from bacteria without using expensive solvents or killing the germs themselves.
The experiment with a modified stick showed that it can be used to catch microplastic particles from water quite quickly.
Likewise, we plan to modify bacteria that live in natural aquatic environments or in wastewater and can form biofilms. We hope this will help prevent most of the microplastics from entering the oceans.
Liu Yang, co-author of the study, assistant professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University