Plastic Degrading Microbes

We have a plastic problem

Plastic shows up everywhere in our lives, and for good reason. It's an amazing material that takes an extremely long time to break down, making it an ideal candidate for use in everything from food packaging to our clothes. But the same thing that makes plastic such an amazing material - its durability - is the reason why plastic pollution is so damaging to the environment. Approximately 60% of the all plastic made since 1950s still exists, leading to vast amounts of waste accumulation. That’s why we’re researching how and if plastics can be broken down by biological forces.

Our approach

project's approach


In collaboration with members of our community (1), we have sampled diverse ecosystems around the Twin Cities area (2). The microbes found in the soil, water and plastic waste samples are selected based on their potential ability to feed on plastics (3). Then, microbial isolates and communities are cultured and identified (4). Finally, their genetic toolkit will be analyzed through bioinformatic approaches to better understand their plastic degradation processes (5).

Get Involved

If you would like to help us expand our sampling scope please send us an email ([email protected]) and we will contact you shortly.