Turning Bacteria into Plastic Factories
Energy and cost efficient, and environmentally friendly. Instead of fighting wars and torturing to control oil drilling and distribution in the middle east, and causing environmental threats, pollution and destruction by drilling, refining and transporting, these people are growing non-food competing sugar stocks from cheap and plentiful materials, and engaging in a win-win transaction with their plastic-excreting bacteria; they feed the bacteria their sugar, and harvest an essential and expensive ingredient in making plastic, to replace the destructive petroleum-based one.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) can give you a severe case of food poisoning or, with a little genetic engineering, a useful plastic. Scientists at San Diego–based Genomatica, Inc., have announced success in manipulating the bacteria to directly produce butanediol (BDO), a chemical compound used to make everything from spandex to car bumpers, thereby providing a more energy-efficient way of making it without oil or natural gas.