A publication lead by SLM researchers in collaboration with scientists from Mexico provides a potential for soil restoration.
They discovered a group of bacteria that live in the intestines of some earthworms and that have the capacity to degrade low density plastic. Although other bacteria and fungi that degrade plastics have already been reported, the newly reported could reduce the period of degradation of plastics to four weeks, while the other known come to take between three and nine months to get similar results.
Decay of low-density polyethylene by bacteria extracted from
earthworm's guts: A potential for soil restoration
Esperanza Huerta Lwanga a,b, Binita Thapa b, Xiaomei Yang b, Henny Gertsen b, Tamás Salánki d, Violette Geissen b, Paolina Garbeva c
a Agroecología, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Unidad Campeche, Av Polígono s/n, Cd. Industrial, Lerma, Campeche, Mexico
b Soil Physics and Land Management Group, Wageningen University & Research, Droevendaalsesteeg 4, 6708PBWageningen, The Netherlands
c Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Department of Microbial Ecology, 6700 AB Wageningen, The Netherlands
d Soil Quality Department, Wageningen University & Research, Droevendaalsesteeg 4, 6708PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
The research is also highlighted in a Mexican newspaper, see this link (in Spanish).