Now, Plastic to be Made from Plants

Now, Plastic to be Made from Plants

Scientists have discovered a kind of soil bacteria that consume hydrocarbons. These bacteria are to derive plastics from the plants with some genetic changes. This will help in replacing the non-biodegradable plastics found everywhere.

Researchers working at the University of Wisconsin based in Madison, Department of Energy-funded Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, are working on this innovation. They aim to convert woody plants into a substitute for petroleum. Fuel and other chemicals are the major usage of this petroleum.

Maximum of the task to obtain sugars include removing the lignin. It is a polymer which bridges the difference between other chemical and cellulose in plant’s cell wall.

This practice leaves a big quantity of lignin as well as cellulose. These are almost of no value. Paper mills use lignin very often to produce paper for over a century. Yet, they get so little value in lignin in spite of burning the mill’s boilers.

Researchers are Working on Making Better Use of Lignin


A UW-Madison student in environmental and civil engineering, Miguel Perez said that lignin can make anything but money. However, they might not be aware about Novosphingobium aromaticivorans like he does.

Daniel Noguera, Perez, and colleagues at GLBRC along with the Wisconsin Energy Institute have reported in the journal Green Chemistry a model for employing N Novosphingobium aromaticivorans to convert lignin into something worth more value as a commodity.

Noguera says that apart from petroleum, lignin is one of the most abundant source of aromatic compounds on earth. These compounds are used to make plastics and chemicals from petroleum. Nevertheless, the complex and bigger molecule of lignin are tough to conveniently divide into constituent pieces.

As a result, looking at this scenario, scientist discovered a microbe that flourished on the soil abundant in aromatic compounds, after getting contaminated by petroleum.

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