Plastic waste comes all along with us, from our homes to offices and then from landfills to water bodies, contaminating our world. It is a global problem that is choking our planet. And so far we have seen scientists turning plastic into fuel or degrading it using sunlight, but now two U.S. scientists have created a unique food generator that can convert plastic waste into edible protein (food).
Ting Lu, a bioengineering professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Stephen Techtmann, associate professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, won the 2021 Future Insight Prize worth 1 million euro for their unique creation, which uses microbes to degrade plastic waste and convert it into food, reports Zenger News.
The world has never seen a decline in plastic production for decades. Only last year, the plastic trash went down, when during the pandemic, the supply from many industries was subdued. The global plastic production is 368 metric tons, of which 8 million metric tons are disposed of in the ocean, says a report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
This Avant-garde technology can create substantial food with all nutrients, which is not at the cost of the environment. The scientists believe that the project ‘Generator’ is an efficient, viable, and versatile technology that uses plastics and saves the oceans and the earth.
Principle of The New Technology
According to Ting Lu, the technology behind the generator is called ‘microbial synthetic biology.’ The technology involves engineered genes circuits – proficient enough to resolve future global problems.
“Environmental microbes are capable of catalyzing a wide array of chemical reactions, many of which may have industrial applications,” Techtmann told Zenger News. “My lab studies how complex microbial communities can cooperate to perform functions of industrial interest.”
This research will allow the generation of valuable products from the plastic waste present all around. The food so created is nontoxic with all health benefits.
Belen Garijo, CEO of Merck – the company that sponsored the prize, congratulates Ting Lu and Stephen Techtmann for winning the Future Insight Prize and their outstanding vision and efforts.