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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bacteria attack styrofoam

Bacteria Make Styrofoam Earth-Friendly
By Tracy Staedter, Discovery News

March 27, 2006— Bacteria that converts Styrofoam into Earth-friendly plastic could lead to a new kind of biodegradable plastic that breaks down into the soil.

The method could help reduce the 2.3 million tons of petroleum-based plastic waste that makes its way into U.S. landfills each year, said research leader Kevin O'Connor, who heads the bioplastic research group at University College Dublin in Ireland.

O'Connor and his team's research results will appear in the April 1 issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

Scientists have used microorganisms to break down the kinds of chemical products found in Styrofoam, but no one has been able to create a useful plastic byproduct, commented Mannfred Zinn, a research group leader at EMPA, the materials science and technology lab that is part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

From Discovery Channel

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