Special class of enzymes could lead to more eco-friendly plastic

Plastic isn’t only harmful to the environment after it’s discarded, but also during its initial production, because it relies on the extraction of fossil fuels.

Looking to find a more environment-friendly way to produce this ubiquitous material, scientists have recently made a breakthrough, discovering a bacterial system that creates ethylene – one of the building blocks of plastic.

The protagonist of the study is a type of soil-dwelling bacteria called Rhodospirillum rubrum, which uses a special class of enzymes (nitrogenase) to transform sulfur into ethylene when exposed to oxygen-depleted environments.

Ethylene is a natural gas used in the production of everyday plastics, like disposable grocery bags. In order to source the chemical, manufacturers currently use components of crude oil or natural gas that are extracted through an energy-intensive process.

The new observations may offer a safer way to create plastics without relying on fossil fuels.

Solution News Source

Special class of enzymes could lead to more eco-friendly plastic

Plastic isn’t only harmful to the environment after it’s discarded, but also during its initial production, because it relies on the extraction of fossil fuels.

Looking to find a more environment-friendly way to produce this ubiquitous material, scientists have recently made a breakthrough, discovering a bacterial system that creates ethylene – one of the building blocks of plastic.

The protagonist of the study is a type of soil-dwelling bacteria called Rhodospirillum rubrum, which uses a special class of enzymes (nitrogenase) to transform sulfur into ethylene when exposed to oxygen-depleted environments.

Ethylene is a natural gas used in the production of everyday plastics, like disposable grocery bags. In order to source the chemical, manufacturers currently use components of crude oil or natural gas that are extracted through an energy-intensive process.

The new observations may offer a safer way to create plastics without relying on fossil fuels.

Solution News Source

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