Protecting Oceans by Putting Plastic Waste to Use

Project Team

By 2025, over 2.2 billion tons of plastic will be thrown away each year. Sadly, much of this plastic ends up in our waterways, including in enormous piles scattered throughout our oceans. There is an urgent need to develop novel strategies to combat plastics bioaccumulation.

One such strategy involves using microorganisms to convert plastic waste into biodegradable products, such as through a recently identified bacterium that uses two enzymes to degrade plastic. These enzymes represent powerful new tools for bioremediation efforts.

The primary goal of this Bass Connections project is to leverage these newly identified enzymes to create a lab strain of bacteria capable of rapidly degrading plastic to restore environmental health and conserve marine biodiversity.

Bioremediation of Plastic Pollution to Conserve Marine Biodiversity

Presentation by Yiwei Duan, Ella Gunady, Sarah Kwartler, Emily Melvin, Beatrice Schleupner, Emma Schmaltz, Serafina Turner, Sophie Vincoff, Melanie Wang, Zachary Weishampel, Justin Yang and Newland Zhang