A new National Science Foundation grant will allow a team from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to genetically engineer an organism that will aid in the battle against plastic waste.
Helen Zha, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, is speadheading the project that will create a bacteria that will break down petroleum-based plastic waste. The organism would then convert the waste into a biodegradable silk.
“At some point, we as a society should be transitioning to using plastics that not only come from non-petroleum-based sources, but can also be completely degraded into something that goes into the natural environment,” she said.
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