Team:Baltimore BioCrew


Plastics are a waste product that pollutes the environment we live in and many resolutions have been implemented with little long term success, such as Mr. Trash wheel, a water wheel that collects waste in Baltimore’s inner harbor, and laws prohibiting the act of littering. Researchers found a bacterium in 2014, known as Ideonella Sakaiensis, that is able degrade poly ethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics by using two enzymes (As shown in the diagram below: Fidler, J. (2016, Mar 16). Huge Discovery: Bacterium That “Eats” Plastic Waste. Retrieved from In order to investigate, we obtained the two enzymes used in Ideonella Sakaiensis, PETase and MHETase, and inserted the enzymes into E. coli plasmids and then put the plasmids into E. coli cells. We expect the bacteria to degrade PET plastic at a rate of 1-3 weeks and produce a by product that is benign to organisms and a possible energy source. The Baltimore BioCrew intends to use these engineered plastic-eating E. coli to degrade PET plastic in our Chesapeake Bay without disrupting ecosystems and marine life.



The Baltimore BioCrew thanks our sponsors for their generous support of our team that made our project and travel to the Jamboree possible. Thank you!