The Arab Gulf University participated in a recent scientific study that discovered bacteria capable of breaking down manufactured plastics, which are a major source of environmental pollution in the marine environment, without the need for oxygen.
Professor of Environmental Biotechnology at the Arabian Gulf University, Prof. Dr. Wael Al-Maslamani, participated in this study, which was recently published in mSystems, a scientific journal issued by the American Society for Microbiology, and classified in the first category among scientific journals in this field.
A team of researchers in Taiwan and Japan also participated in the study, which targeted (biological treatment of plastic plastics polluting the environment in an oxygen-free environment), with the aim of reaching a biological technology by bacteria to treat plastic pollutants in water that is produced annually in millions of tons, and is one of the most environmental polluting means.
Dr. Al-Maslamani said: Plastics cause great damage to living organisms, including humans, as they cause a disruption in the work of the endocrine glands, as they are carcinogens and stimulate the growth of cancer cells, in addition to their ability to cause damage to the genetic material DNA.
Dr. Al-Maslamani indicated that bacteria have the ability to use plastics as a source of food and growth, and thus clean the environment of these dangerous pollutants through environmental biotechnology processes known scientifically as biodegradation or bio-fragmentation.
The study aimed to find out whether biodegradation contributes to the disintegration of plastics in oxygen-free environments, and if this occurs, what are the types of microbes that feed on plastics without oxygen, and how these microbes deal with these dangerous materials in terms of biochemical reactions, enzymes and genes responsible for breaking down elastomers.
The study confirmed the presence of bacterial communities capable of breaking up plastics in aquatic sediments without the need for oxygen. The study also found that these bacterial communities exchange the genetic codes responsible for breaking up plastics by using them as a carbon source through anaerobic respiration, and one of the most important results of the study is the detection of cooperation between Different types of bacteria in order to be able to completely break up the plastic.
Prof. Dr. Wael Al-Maslamani stressed that it is possible to build on these results through larger-scale research in environments polluted with plastics, in preparation for the development of vital techniques to treat the environment contaminated with these dangerous chemicals even in the absence of oxygen.