The coolest part of this is it happened by mistake. A few years ago, researchers discovered an enzyme at a recycling plant in Japan that had evolved to eat PLASTIC and break it down.
So scientists at the University of Portsmouth in England decided to study it. And in the process, they accidentally created a mutant version that digests plastic even FASTER.
Plastic bottles can end up in the ocean and float around for hundreds of years. But the enzyme they made starts to break it down within DAYS. And they think there’s still room for improvement, so it could happen even faster.
Eventually, they think they might be able to use the enzyme to break plastic down into its original components, which could then be used to make new plastic. So we wouldn’t need to use fresh oil to make it.
And they could potentially use it to clean up the oceans too. Which would obviously be a HUGE development.
If things stay the way they are now, some experts say we’ll have more tons of plastic in the ocean than tons of FISH by the year 2050.
(PNAS / CNN / Fox News)