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June 26, 2019

These Bacteria Eat Plastic - Morgan Vague

" how did we wind up with so much plastic waste?'s cheap, it's durable, it's adaptable and it's everywhere..."


Morgan Vague took a look at bacteria and plastic numbers, which seemingly are almost comparable at this point. After deciding to conduct some research she wondered if she could change bacteria to see plastic as food. Bacteria need carbon, a food source to live, just like humans do. Morgan created a specific environment providing the bacteria with this carbon food source, polyethylene terephthalate, or PET PLASTIC.  Where are these bacteria coming from? How exactly is she setting up this environment for the bacteria?  Why would bacteria eat plastics? In this TED talk Morgan Vague 'breaks down' (pun intended) how her bacteria adapt to eat plastic.  

"Humans produce 300 million tons of new plastic each year — yet, despite our best efforts, less than 10 percent of it ends up being recycled. Is there a better way to deal with all this waste? Morgan Vague describes her research with microbiologist Jay Mellies on bacteria that have evolved the unexpected ability to eat plastic — and how they could help us solve our growing pollution problem." - From TED talks

To learn more about how Morgan Vague's bacteria eat plastic watch the 9:13 minute video below

On the go? Listen to the 9:25 minute podcast below

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