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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)

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27 2021, @04:07PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27 2021, @04:07PM (#1160387)

    oh i hope we can get a pen or spray with these 'em biolab-is-home bugs so that the tedious labour of stripping copper wire becomes much easier: just mark the length of plastic insolation with the bug-pen and awaaayyy they go, leaving behing bare copper.
    also should be fun if loaded into a firetruck and sprayed around in occupied enemy town: have a good all-day night!