Significant plastic accumulation on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Australia
Lavers et al reports more than 200 tonnes of plastic on the beaches of an uninhabited island: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-43375-4#Fig3. Again, as in many cases, the very well floatable bottles, tooth brushes and the infamous flipsflops are among the most often mentioned plastic items. On the photos fishery equipment is visible, as so often encountered.
Prof. Lars Blank, coordinator of the EU-project P4SB, gave a talk about Pseudomonas putida bacteria and their capability to produce microplastic from man-made plastics at the RWTH kids university - the children loved to hear his phantastic story about "Mirko". The full article in German can be found here.
A research team from the University of Greifswald and Helmholtz-Zentrum-Berlin (HZB) has solved the molecular structure of the important enzyme MHETase at BESSY II. MHETase was discovered in bacteria and together with a second enzyme - PETase - is able to break down the widely used plastic PET into its basic building blocks. This 3D structure already allowed the researchers to produce a MHETase variant with optimized activity in order to use it, together with PETase, for a sustainable recycling of PET. The results have been published in the research journal Nature Communications. Click here for details!
On Friday, 5. April 2019, P4SB's Professor Lars Blank will give a presentation at the RWTH Open Day. He will give a lecture to people who are considering studying at RWTH, introducing them to the Topic of 'plastic recycling with the help of microbes'. His talk will be titled "Wohin mit dem Plastikmüll? Mikroben helfen beim Plastikrecycling!", in English "Where to put all the plastic waste? Microbes as helpers for recycling plastic!". Curious? Go learn more about this and similar opportunities on the RWTH Homepage!