Israeli scientists invent new plastics without land and without degradation

- May 31, 2018-

Israeli scientists invent new plastics without land and without degradation

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In the second half of this year, DC turned over to "Neptune" to sweep the Chinese cinema line, and set a record for the box office. On Christmas Day, "Sea King", which was released for more than 20 days, still relies on Marvel's "Spider-Man" and a group of domestically produced movies, ranking first in the single-day box office. With such good results, the best plots and pictures are the number one hero. In the film, in addition to the beautiful underwater world and the passionate fighting scene, what impressed Xiaobian most was that before Atlantis counterattack, all the marine garbage was “sent” back to the land, and the garbage was overwhelming. The situation.


If the seabed really has a wise civilization, then their hostility towards terrestrial civilization is understandable. According to the information found in the small series, the ocean has become the world's largest garbage dump. According to an earlier estimate by the United Nations Environment Program, more than 6.4 million tons of garbage will enter the ocean each year. When the search for the MH370 lost passenger aircraft began in 2014, many times the news of the suspected passenger aircraft wreckage was reported, but ultimately Floating objects are nothing but various marine debris.

 

Among the many garbage, marine garbage accounts for an absolute majority. At present, marine plastic pollution has been listed as a major global environmental problem along with global climate change, ozone depletion, and ocean acidification. It is reported that the annual output of human plastic waste to the ocean can reach 480-1.27 million tons, which has exceeded the original Estimated total amount of marine litter discharge. According to US media estimates, the annual discharge of plastic waste, if stacked on the Manhattan Island 32 times the height, can reach the human ankle.

 

In April of this year, China's advanced submersible "Qianlong No.3" sneaked into the deep sea of more than 3,900 meters. In the photographs of a series of beautiful deep-sea creatures such as fish, shrimp, starfish and sea cucumber, the figure of plastic garbage is particularly eye-catching. This is not the most exaggerated. In May of this year, international teams from all over the world used deep-sea submersibles to dive into the deepest trench in the world, the Mariana Trench. As a result, they found it under the depth of 10,098 meters. Plastic bags, the deepest places in the world have also become garbage dumps.

 

Environmental experts warn that the Mariana Trench, which is more than 1,000 kilometers from the mainland, finds plastic waste here, which basically proves that it has spread to the whole world.

 

In addition, the team of experts found rubbish in other deep-sea areas. Only 3,425 pieces were found in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Since the garbage has begun to sink to the bottom of the sea, it is not uncommon for Atlantis to worry about the situation of garbage. So nervous.

 

These plastic wastes have greatly affected the ecological environment of the ocean, which is a great life threat to marine life. The Marine Conservation Association noted that current research suggests that plastics threaten at least 600 different wild animals. One-third of leatherback turtles often mistake plastic bags for edible sea otters, and researchers often find plastic in their stomachs. In February of this year, there were 30 plastic bags in the stomach of a stranded dead whale on the Norwegian coast. Including albatross and petrel, 90% of seabirds often eat plastic. By 2050, this number is expected to rise to 100%.

 

More dangerously, not only wildlife is threatened by marine plastics, but there is growing evidence that humans are absorbing plastic from the seafood they eat. In one study, researchers bought some fish from the fish market in Indonesia and the United States in the second half of 2014, and a quarter of the internal organs contained plastic.

 

In addition, the forward-looking network has previously reported the news of “micro-plastics” found in salt. Incheon National University and Greenpeace East Asia team conducted a sample survey of salt from 39 brands in 21 countries. Only 3 samples did not detect microplastics. These salt is mainly sea salt and lake salt. The source of these micro-plastics is that people decompose after discarding plastic waste in the water.

 

The biggest hazard of plastic waste comes from its refractory nature. Ordinary plastic products may not degrade after 1 or 200 years. Generally, they are called degradable plastic bags. In fact, it takes several years to more than ten years to degrade. Only some expensive degradable plastic products can be used. Degradation is completed within a few months.

 

In order to solve the problem of plastic waste, governments and researchers in various countries can be described as painstaking. On the one hand, they want to limit the use of plastics. Many countries around the world have issued “plastic limit orders” to reduce the use of plastics in their lives. On the other hand, scientists hope to solve problems at the source and invent more degradable plastics. product.

 

In August of this year, Chilean researchers invented a new plastic bag that was soluble in water when testing biodegradable detergents. This plastic bag uses PVA, a polyvinyl alcohol dissolved in water, as a chemical matrix to replace petrochemicals to ensure that the plastic bags degrade over time.

 

Recently, scientists at the University of Tel Aviv (TAU) in Israel have invented a new process for the production of bioplastic polymers that does not require the use of scarce land and freshwater resources. The materials for polymer products are mainly derived from seaweed. microorganism. Therefore, it is a biodegradable material that produces only zero-toxic products and recyclable organic waste.

 

The invention is the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration between Dr. Alexander Golberg of the TAU School of Environmental and Earth Sciences and Professor Michael Gozin of the School of Chemistry. Their research was recently published in the journal Bioresource Technology.

 

They said: "The current research direction is bioplastics, which do not use petroleum products, so the degradation rate is fast. But bioplastics also have to pay the environmental cost: planting or cultivating plants used to make plastics, bacteria need fertile soil and restructuring Fresh water, but many countries, including Israel, do not have such resources."

 

So they thought of "production of 'plastics' from marine microbes." Researchers use microbes that feed on algae to produce a bioplastic polymer called polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). “Our raw material is multicellular algae grown in the sea,” Dr. Gorberg said. “These algae are eaten by single-celled microbes in salt water to produce a polymer that can be used in bioplastics.”

 

Related bioplastic products are not new, and factories have been commercialized, but previous factories used traditional methods and required large amounts of agricultural land and fresh water. The significance of this new process is that it enables countries with freshwater shortages such as Israel, China and India to transition from petroleum plastics production to bioplastics production.

 

According to Dr. Gorberg, this new study can completely change the face of the ocean without affecting the cultivated land and not wasting fresh water. “Chemical plastics are one of the most serious pollutants in the ocean,” he said. “We have shown that the possibility of producing plastics entirely from marine living resources exists, and this process is quite friendly to the environment and residents.”

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