Published On: Wed, Aug 7th, 2019

Israeli scientists create “sustainable plastic” from seaweed

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At this moment in history in which the abnormal proliferation of sargasso in the Atlantic Ocean is affecting not only the tourism industry, but marine and coastal ecosystems as well, scientific discoveries arise that can contribute to the use of these algae to produce 100% biodegradable substitutes for plastic, that could provide solutions to many of the environmental problems created by human beings in the last century.

Tel Aviv.- Researchers in Israel have developed a new process to produce a “natural polymer” that is derived from microorganisms that feed on seaweed. In a statement, scientists from the University of Tel Aviv (TAU) said that bioplastic polymers can be produced without soil or fresh water, resources that are getting more and more scarce in much of the world.

The polymer is derived from microorganisms that feed on algae. It is biodegradable, produces zero toxic waste and is recycled into organic waste.

To achieve this, they have used Haloferax Mediterranei, a bacteria that feeds on the carbohydrates present in algae and metabolize them in polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), a type of polyester produced in nature through the action of bacteria, usually by fermentation of sugar or lipids.

PHAs are one of the most promising research fields, since the resulting bioplastics are completely biodegradable and do not generate any kind of toxic waste whatsoever.

Tons of sargasso are collected every day on the beaches of Quitana Roo, Mexico (archive)

“There are already factories that produce some type of bioplastics in commercial quantities, but they use plants that require agricultural land and fresh water. We have demonstrated that it is possible to produce bioplastics completely based on marine resources in a process that is friendly to both the environment and its residents, ”said Dr. Alexander Golberg of the TAU School of Environmental and Earth Sciences .

That is why the Israeli researchers is looking at this breakthrough as the basis for these new bioplastics that degrade within one year.

The invention was the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration between Dr. Alexander Golberg and Professor Michael Gozin of the Raymond School of Chemistry and Beverly Sackler, also of the TAU.

His research was published in the journal Bioresource Technology.

The Riviera Maya Times Newsroom with information from:
TAU



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