Christopher James P. – BASIS Ahwatukee

BASIS Ahwatukee Senior Christopher James P.

Solution to Pollution: Creating Plastic-Eating Bacteria

Project/blog link: Solution to Pollution: Creating Plastic-Eating Bacteria
BASIS Advisor: Mrs. Rachna Nath
Internship location: School of Life Sciences Department at Arizona State University
Onsite Mentor: Mr. Gary Tahmahkera , Lab Coordinator

Project Abstract

Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing problems facing modern society. “Recycling” plastic does not actually reduce the amount of new plastic produced because plastic breaks down progressively as it is recycled, causing manufacturers to need to produce newer, stronger plastic. Scientists based in Japan discovered a bacteria capable of breaking down plastic to its basic components which can be reused to recreate plastic without decreasing the strength of the plastic. Unfortunately, the bacteria was found to be too slow at degrading plastic. My project aims to genetically modify this bacteria and increase its growth rate, which would increase the rate at which it consumes plastic. The creation of a bacteria capable of efficiently breaking down plastic would negate the need to constantly produce new plastic and provide a viable means to removing the plastic polluting our environment.

Solution to Pollution: Creating Plastic-Eating Bacteria