Scientists Invent Method to Trap and Remove Microplastics

Microplastics can now be trapped and removed from the environment with this new method devised by microbiologists. These…
microplastics

Microplastics can now be trapped and removed from the environment with this new method devised by microbiologists. These materials can now be gotten rid of from the environment and as such, this makes recycling them much easier.

Some scientists at Hong Kong Polytechnic University developed this new technique that utilizes bacterial biofilms to trap particles from microplastics. Micro-organisms create biofilms.

This sticky biofilm is processed and dispersed. Researcher Yang Liu revealed that these plastics serve as a major threat to human health and the food chain. These materials are a huge problem in our environment.

They are not bio-degradable, making it easy for organisms to absorb them and as such, this results in the transfer and absorption of microplastics down the food chain.

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Due to their huge surface area and adsorption capacity, microplastics can absorb toxic pollutants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and drug residues at high concentrations. This leads to biological and chemical toxicity to organisms in the ecosystems and humans after prolonged unintended consumption of such microplastics.

Yang Liu

The researchers made use of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa to trap microplastics inside a bioreactor. This type of bacteria is available in all environs. The materials are easy to collect in a bioreactor.

Immediately these plastics are trapped by the biofilms and are at the reactor’s bottom, a biofilm-dispersal gene is used, which made the biofilm let out these plastics. Microplastics are particles that can get into the environment via different sources which include the breakdown of plastics, plastic waste, breakdown of tires, synthetic clothing washing, etc.

Today’s methods for disposing of microplastic which include storage in landfills or incineration have their cons. Liu and his co-researchers hope this new method will be utilized in the treatment of wastewater to prevent microplastics from getting into the oceans.

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