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Biodegradable solutions for packaging of liquid dairy products

DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES

Type of information: NEWS

In this section, you can access to the latest technical information related to the BIOBOTTLE project topic.

Wanted: microbes with an appetite for plastic 

VTT's PlastBug project aims to solve the problem of what to do about the global problem of plastic waste. They came up with a new idea: Why not find bugs that will eat it'

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is working on a project aimed at tackling the problem of plastic waste by finding natural ways to degrade the different types of the most commonly used plastics.

This year, researchers in the PlastBug project have been searching for microbes that are capable of degrading various different kinds of plastics (PE, PP, PS or PET) and they have developed methods for the pretreatment of plastics. Researchers are currently using a three-stage screening method to screen microbes from different sources.

"Some microbes have already passed through the first two stages of the screening. In the third stage, we will confirm are they capable to consume and digest plastic. In the next step, if plastic degrading microbes will be found, we will improve the ability of the most effective microbes to digest plastic, and we will develop plastic pre-treatment methods further to ease the work of the microbes," says Kari Koivuranta, Principal Scientist at VTT.

A complete process is being engineered around the fermenting unit containing microbes – a small plant in which plastic is modified from waste to products. The aim is that the pilot unit will operate on the Baltic Sea in 2021, but funding still needs to be secured for the realisation of this plan.

If the process can be made to work effectively enough, the PlastBug units can progress to commercial production and operate in different locations around the world.

The Plastbug team took second place in the Meriroska (Marine Litter) Challenge arranged by the Finnish Environment Agency on 25 August 2018.

This annual project is part of VTT's iBEX programme, which aims to achieve rapid, bold solutions to problems.

Image: In VTT's PlastBug projects, microbes are being screened through a three-stage process. (Photo: VTT)

https://www.vttresearch.com

 

» Publication Date: 31/08/2018

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research, technological development and demonstration (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [606350].

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