More

    Can AI-Designed Super Enzyme End Plastic Pollution Crisis?

    CSRGreen businessCan AI-Designed Super Enzyme End Plastic Pollution Crisis?
    - Advertisment -

    Can AI-Designed Super Enzyme End Plastic Pollution Crisis?

    The latest developments in plastics research offer hope. Researchers at the University of Texas have developed a super enzyme termed as hydrolase that can break down plastic in 24 hours, offering an effective way to tackle plastic pollution.

    By Tara Nair

    Last month, scientists at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam made a startling discovery – microplastics were detected in the blood samples of 80 per cent of the people tested for research. While plastic particles have earlier been detected in fish and other sea organisms, this was the first time that they were detected in human blood. The study showed that these particles may move freely around the body and lodge themselves in any of the organs. While its impact on health is yet to be ascertained, researchers are worried these particles could result in millions of early deaths every year.

    The latest developments in plastics research offer hope. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have developed an enzyme that can break down plastic in 24 hours, offering a way to tackle the plastic waste crisis, say media reports. The scientists used artificial intelligence to produce an enzyme named hydrolase which can break down polyethylene terephthalate or PET, a common kind of plastic which comprises more than 12 per cent of the solid waste in the world.

    - Advertisement -

    Plastic microplastic pollution solid waste

    A solution

    Apart from problem of tackling the waste, this enzyme could also help companies recycle their products, helping create a circular plastics economy, according to a paper titled ‘Machine learning-aided engineering of hydrolases for PET depolymerization’, published last week in peer-reviewed journal Nature.

    The earlier efforts to break down plastics using enzymes were not as successful because such chemicals are vulnerable in certain pH ranges and temperatures. The new enzyme does not have this drawback. The researchers claim that the enzyme could clean up landfills and dumping sites when used in ample quantities.

    The world produces at least 400 million tonnes of plastic waste a year. Annual plastic production is expected to touch 1,100 million tonnes by 2050. More than a third of the global plastic output is used for packaging. Around 85 per cent of this ends up in landfills and a large quantity ends up in water bodies. More than 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the oceans every year. The waste breaks down into microplastic particles and enter living organisms through food, water and air.

    In a landmark development in March, 175 United Nations members agreed to sign a global agreement to tackle plastic pollution. The treaty is expected to tackle excess supply of plastics which are produced primarily by the hydrocarbon industry.

     

    This piece has been sourced from Policy Circle — policycircle.org

    - Advertisement -
    Policy Circle
    Policy Circle
    Policy Circle is a digital platform for informed discussions on economy, policy, governance, and sustainable development.

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Latest news

    WTO Negotiation Session on Fisheries Subsidies held at Abu Dhabi Ministerial Conference-13

    India reiterates that responsible and sustainable fisheries is a practice ingrained in ethos and practices of India’s large and...

    New Zealand to Repeal World-First Law Banning Tobacco Sales for Future Generations

    The Public Health Communication Center, a Wellington-based advocacy group called the arguments proffered by the government as “‘Zombie arguments’...

    Sri Lanka Set to Implement PPP in Water Supply

    The minister said that a water tariff formula has been formulated and will be submitted to the cabinet, parliament...

    Aid Delivery to Gaza Falls by Half Since January: UNRWA

    Obstacles to aid delivery include lack of political will, the regular closing of the two crossing points into the...
    - Advertisement -

    Moneylenders, Debtors Battle It Out on the Streets of Kathmandu

    The law has proven incapable of meeting the objectives it was framed for – the indebted people, who are...

    India’s First Septic Tank Cleaning Robot Works Tirelessly

    Solinas, has developed the affordable robotic solution integrated Artificial Intelligence (AI) to inspect, clean, and manage confined space for...

    Must read

    WTO Negotiation Session on Fisheries Subsidies held at Abu Dhabi Ministerial Conference-13

    India reiterates that responsible and sustainable fisheries is a...

    New Zealand to Repeal World-First Law Banning Tobacco Sales for Future Generations

    The Public Health Communication Center, a Wellington-based advocacy group...
    - Advertisement -

    More from the sectionRELATED
    Recommended to you