Category: Marine Life

Marine bacteria bite into plastic pollution

November 1st, 2023 by

Bacteria found in the sea can degrade plastics that would otherwise resist microbial breakdown in marine environments.

The bacterium is called Vibrio ruber, and a specific strain carries an enzyme that can degrade the common polymer polybutylene succinate (PBS)

The bacterium’s potential was discovered by researchers at Hokkaido University, working with colleagues at the Mitsubishi Chemical Group in Japan. They say it could lead to improved ways to recycle this polymer.

“Plastic pollution in the ocean is a global problem and we need to tackle it by gaining new understanding of plastic behaviour in that environment, and new technologies to deal with the pollution,” says Tomoo Sawabe, leader of the research team at Hokkaido University’s Faculty of Fisheries Sciences.

As only a small number of marine microorganisms able to biodegrade PBS had been discovered previously, Sawabe and his colleagues set out to try to find others and with better activity. They examined the effect on PBS of microbes gathered from natural seawater off Japan, allowing them to identify several types of marine bacteria that could degrade it.

The Goals of the UN Ocean Decade

December 28th, 2021 by

Each year, we see millions of tonnes of plastic entering our oceans. This plastic wreaks havoc on our oceans by polluting them. As we know, plastic presents a significant threat to those living in the oceans and never truly biodegrades. It remains on the planet for hundreds of years and has become a daily challenge […]

How Sharks Play a Vital Role in the Food Chain

July 18th, 2021 by

Sharks have been portrayed as vicious killers and predators to be feared. This is in part thanks to the many Hollywood films dedicated to the fear genre. While the films might make for great entertainment, they have done little to promote sharks in a positive light. While sharks are indeed scary-looking creatures, they are not […]