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WCI student isolates microbe that lunches on plastic bags
Waterloo Region Record - Kitchener, Ont.
Author: Kawawada, Karen
Date: May 22, 2008
Start Page: A.1
Section: FRONT
Abstract (Document Summary)

After three months of upping the concentration of plastic-eating microbes, [Daniel Burd] filtered out the remaining plastic powder and put his bacterial culture into three flasks with strips of plastic cut from grocery bags. As a control, he also added plastic to flasks containing boiled and therefore dead bacterial culture.

That wasn't good enough for Burd. To identify the bacteria in his culture, he let them grow on agar plates and found he had four types of microbes. He tested those on more plastic strips and found only the second was capable of significant plastic degradation.

A researcher in Ireland has found Pseudomonas is capable of degrading polystyrene, but as far as Burd and his teacher Mark Menhennet know -- and they've looked -- Burd's research on polyethelene plastic bags is a first.

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