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View Diary: Plastic Island: Twice the Size of Texas & Growing (298 comments)

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  •  Have you heard of Daniel Burd, 17? (0+ / 0-)

    Using supplies and equipment acquired mostly on eBay, Burd collected soil samples, and grew each in a culture. . .

    Burd isolated four microbial stains that could degrade plastic, including one that worked particularly well. He experimented with different temperatures in various mixtures of strains until he was able to degrade up to 43 percent of his strips [of plastic] in six weeks, a dramatic improvement over the years it could take in a landfill. Burd's research won first prize in a Canada-wide science fair last spring.*

    *Discover Magazine, December 2008

    •  Yes, I link to an article on hime elsewhere (0+ / 0-)

      But the problem is, the oceans are a very differnt environment and have greater potential problems in terms of potential biological hazards and the the practicality of the solution.

      a)The microbes would have to be safe for aquatic species including other microbes, plaknton etc. This dictates extensive testing.

      b)Delivering the microves in a form were they are in an efftive concentration is a significat problem since the oceans are a huge volume, in constant motion and you have a depth of some 10s of meters (although I wouldn't rule out a surface bourne solution to be at lest a partial solution).  Therefore, the media of delivery has to be something that survives for a period and then, itself, biodegrades.

      c)Getting international agreement on this would be very difficult, particularly with the EU - if GM is such a hot political topic, imaging the respinse to this.

      That said, I do consider this the most likely solution since a microbe soup could be engineered to break-down the plastics and process the CO2.

      I'm very skeptical about the viability of harvesting mid-ocean.

      What we can do fist without any special technology is stop putting crap in the oceans.

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 10:00:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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