New discovery: Scientists turn plastic bottles into vanilla flavoring

Good News Notes:

While the world is slowly taking small steps to reduce plastic consumption, it becomes more and more evident how global plastic pollution has alarming effects on humans, wildlife, and the environment. 

Plastics lose their material value after one use, which is why it is important to find more ways to upcycle them for a more circular economy. 

For the first time, scientists found a way to transform used plastic bottles into vanilla flavoring with the help of genetic engineering. 

The researchers from the University of Edinburgh used Escherichia coli, an engineered microorganism, in turning PET bottles into vanillin, a chemical component from the vanilla bean extract that gives that distinct flavor and smell to the product. 

Vanillin can be found in food, cosmetics, herbicides, among others. This can be synthetically produced from petrochemicals or chemicals from petroleum or natural gas. It also has high market demand. 

Scientists used plastic-eating mutant enzymes to convert the bottles into vanillin. They found that the process only had light reactions and left no hazardous waste….”

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