Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that chomps plastic for lunch

April 17, 2018 by  
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Could we solve the plastic pollution crisis with a mutant enzyme? At a trash dump in 2016, Japanese researchers discovered the first known bacterium that had evolved to consume plastic . The Guardian reported an international team of researchers, building on that finding, began studying the bacterium to understand how it functioned — and then accidentally engineered it to be even better. A new plastic-eating enzyme which could solve one of the world's biggest environmental issues has been discovered by scientists at the University of Portsmouth and @NREL Read more: https://t.co/40SOf85ZW6 @PNASNews #environmentalscience Video credit: @upixphotography pic.twitter.com/U56vcpMoeW — University of Portsmouth (@portsmouthuni) April 16, 2018 Research led by University of Portsmouth and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) teams engineered an enzyme able to break down plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). NREL said the bad news about the find of the bacterium in the Japanese dump was that it doesn’t work quickly enough for recycling on an industrial scale. But while manipulating the enzyme, the international team inadvertently improved its ability to devour plastic. Related: Newly discovered plastic-eating bacteria could help clean up plastic waste around the world John McGeehan, University of Portsmouth professor, told The Guardian, “It is a modest improvement — 20 percent better — but that is not the point. It’s incredible because it tells us that the enzyme is not yet optimized. It gives us scope to use all the technology used in other enzyme development for years and years and make a super-fast enzyme.” This mutant enzyme begins degrading plastic in a few days, a sharp contrast to the centuries it would take for plastic bottles to break down in the ocean . “What we are hoping to do is use this enzyme to turn this plastic back into its original components, so we can literally recycle it back to plastic,” McGeehan told The Guardian. “It means we won’t need to dig up any more oil and, fundamentally, it should reduce the amount of plastic in the environment .” Chemist Oliver Jones of RMIT University, who wasn’t part of the research, told The Guardian this work is exciting, and that enzymes are biodegradable , non-toxic, and microorganisms can produce them in big quantities. He said, “There is still a way to go before you could recycle large amounts of plastic with enzymes, and reducing the amount of plastic produced in the first place might, perhaps, be preferable. [But] this is certainly a step in a positive direction.” The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the research. Scientists from the University of Campinas in Brazil and the University of South Florida contributed. + University of Portsmouth + National Renewable Energy Laboratory Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that chomps plastic for lunch

Four-legged prehistoric snake offers clues about the reptile’s evolution

July 27, 2015 by  
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A 113 million-year-old Brazilian fossil, recently examined for the first time, has provided what some experts believe is the first evidence that snakes did at one stage in their evolution have four legs. While there is some controversy as to how closely related to modern day snakes the fossil is, the authors of a new study that examines the fossil are certain this proves snakes have always been land-based animals, using the delicate limbs for burrowing and “hugging” their prey, rather than for swimming. Read the rest of Four-legged prehistoric snake offers clues about the reptile’s evolution

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Four-legged prehistoric snake offers clues about the reptile’s evolution

Space, Not Spikes humanizes London’s shameful anti-homeless initiative

July 27, 2015 by  
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Urban planners in London are determined to make life even more difficult for the homeless by placing spikes on commonly used areas for sleeping and sitting. The spikes are placed in all the “right” places — the sides of sidewalks closest to buildings, windowsills and stairs. It seems city officials have left no place unturned to place these polished symbols of NIMBYism. But a group of activists is fighting back. Read the rest of Space, Not Spikes humanizes London’s shameful anti-homeless initiative

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Space, Not Spikes humanizes London’s shameful anti-homeless initiative

Shigeru Ban will reuse earthquake rubble to build Nepal relief shelters

July 27, 2015 by  
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Urban Crepe is a blooming Buenos Aires food stall in a repurposed shipping container

July 27, 2015 by  
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Urban Crepe is a blooming Buenos Aires food stall in a repurposed shipping container

Scientists discover the world’s strongest natural material

February 20, 2015 by  
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Those little seashells loitering on your bathroom shelf are hiding quite a secret—at least, their teeth are. According to a new study from the University of Portsmouth , the strongest material found in nature is the tooth of a tiny sea creature. The aquatic, snail-like creatures’ millimeter-long teeth feature a biological structure so strong that it could provide us with a way to build tougher cars and planes in the future. Read the rest of Scientists discover the world’s strongest natural material Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: biomimicry , composite materials , goethite , green design , limpet teeth , limpets , minerals , Nature , seashells , strongest material , strongest natural material , teeth , university of portsmouth

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Scientists discover the world’s strongest natural material

BIG’s Copenhagen recycling center looks like it will double as a neighborhood ski slope

February 20, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of BIG’s Copenhagen recycling center looks like it will double as a neighborhood ski slope Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Amagerforbraending , BIG Architects , big designs , big ski slope recycling plant , bjarke ingels , copenhagen , fitness , park , picnic , recycling depot , recycling square , running , syndhavns recycling center

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BIG’s Copenhagen recycling center looks like it will double as a neighborhood ski slope

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