Here are some facts about plastics:
- 280 million tons: that’s the average amount produced each year, worldwide (which represents 8,880 kilograms per second)!
- 1 000 years: that’s the typical life-span of a plastic bottle!
- Up to 450 years : that’s the time needed for the degradation of a simple plastic bag in the environment.
Is there any solutions?
Yes! And this is why our team chose to work on a biological alternative to petroleum-based plastics: Poly Lactic acid!
Most-commonly referred to as PLA, Poly-Lactic acid is a totally biodegradable polymer that mimics the physical properties of the good old plastic. It’s currently employed as food packaging or 3D-printing material, but it also has other applications, for instance during surgeries, where it is used as suture strings.
Our objective for iGEM 2016 is to produce a significant amount of PLA solely by biological means, using Pseudomonas putida. This could enable an sustainable and inexpensive synthesis, starting from simple sugars.