Question: At which place researchers of India have discovered plastic-eating bacteria?
(a) Greater Noida
- Recently Researchers in India have discovered plastic-eating bacteria from the wetlands of Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
- Team of Researchers during the study of samples at Shiv Nadar University has discovered two strains of this plastic-eating bacterium.
- These bacterial species are Exiguobacterium sibiricum strain DR11 and Exiguobacterium undae strain DR14.
- It is believed that this eco-friendly alternative might be used as a clean-up method for plastic waste worldwide.
- This discovery came as a boon for India in the background of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022.
- The bacteria have the potential to decompose polystyrene, a key component in Single-Use Plastic items such as disposable cups, cutlery, toys, packaging materials etc.
- Polystyrene, a type of plastic, is quite resistant to degrade due to its high molecular weight and long-chain polymer structure.
- The bacterial species are isolated from the unexplored wetlands adjoining the university.
- The research team found the newly-discovered bacteria used plastic as a carbon source and created biofilms. This alters the physical properties of polystyrene, and initiates a process of natural degradation with the release of enzymes to break the polymer chains – a prospective solution to the plastic waste piling up.
- The research has been published in the scientific journal RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry) Advances.
Plastic Hazard in India:
- The Central Pollution Control Board conducted a study in 60 major cities of India in 2018.
- It observed that approximately 4000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated from these cities a day.