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posted by martyb on Monday July 26 2021, @10:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the soylent-[place-color-here]-is-plastic-garbage dept.

Food of the Future? 'Generator' Turns Plastic Trash Into Edible Protein:

Two U.S. scientists have won a 1 million euro ($1.18 million) prize for creating a food generator concept that turns plastics into protein.

The 2021 Future Insight Prize went to Ting Lu, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Stephen Techtmann, associate professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, for their project. It uses microbes to degrade plastic waste and convert it into food.

The German science and technology company Merck sponsors the prize. Global plastics production totaled 368 million metric tons in 2019. The only decline in the past 60 years came because the COVID-19 pandemic choked production of goods worldwide as factories sputtered and shipping slowed down.

[...] The two scientists, who call their project a food “generator,” focused on finding an efficient, economical and versatile technology that finds a use for plastics that are at the end of their useful life and would otherwise end up in landfills or oceans.

The resulting foods “contain all the required nutrition, are nontoxic, provide health benefits and additionally allow for personalization needs,” according to Merck.

The scientists learned to exploit synthetically altered microbes, programming them genetically to convert waste into food.

Gives new meaning to the phrase you are what you eat.

Journal Reference:
Nicholas S. McCarty, Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro. Synthetic Biology Tools to Engineer Microbial Communities for Biotechnology, Trends in Biotechnology (DOI: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2018.11.002)

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27 2021, @01:08AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27 2021, @01:08AM (#1160239)

    The horror piece you linked, states: "anything beyond one or two parts of alcohol per million is lethal to all known plant life."
    Which is a blatant, stupid, crazy lie. [] []

    When an article is fucked up THAT deeply with regard to a verifiable fact, anything else it states should also be assumed false unless supported by independent sources.

  • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Tuesday July 27 2021, @02:04AM

    by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Tuesday July 27 2021, @02:04AM (#1160251)

    My, my, such a strong response from an AC to an article critical of GMOs.

    From the first article you linked,


    Ethanol, or grain alcohol, is produced by the fermentation of grains. Ethanol is the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. Ethanol tends to stunt the growth of plants. When ethanol is applied to flowers, scientists note that, when watered with a 5 per cent solution of ethanol, plant growth slows. When a 10 per cent alcohol solution is applied, the plant becomes stressed and, with a 25 per cent alcohol solution, the plant dies. This can be useful if growth of the plant needs to be supressed, as is the case with many flowers. Once the flower gets larger, it wilts and loses its aesthetic value. Using ethanol, the flower can be kept smaller for a longer period of time.

            Ethanol, or grain alcohol, is produced by the fermentation of grains.
            When ethanol is applied to flowers, scientists note that, when watered with a 5 per cent solution of ethanol, plant growth slows.

    I guess I have to point out that there is a difference between exposing a full grown plant occasionally with an Ethanol solution as described in the quote above and trying to raise a plant from seed, which is what my linked article was talking about ,in the constant presence of Ethanol are very different things. Even the article you linked to points out that exposing plants to Ethanol will suppress it's growth. Just think what happens when you try to sprout a seed in that environment.

    As to the second article you linked it seems to be discussing the effect of Ethanol on a GMO plant specifically engineered to use Ethanol as a trigger for the genes that have been added to the plant. But I'll admit that by the time I got to the part about how they added genes from a fungus to the plant to use it as a trigger for other genetic modifications I was getting over my head. Perhaps you or another person who can actually understand rest of what it's talking about can explain it to the rest of us in splain English and also detail how it actually refutes the statements made by the botanists in the article I original linked that dealt with unmodified plants being exposed to constant Ethanol contamination of their roots.

    After reviewing the articles you linked I didn't find anything that refutes or contradicts the article I originally linked.

    "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."