Dutch researcher Jean-Paul Meijnen has come up with an environment friendly method of transforming biowastes into bio plastics, an environment friendly substitute of plastics by training bacteria to convert glucose content in the food wastes into bioplastics.

“Unfortunately, the production of plastics from bio-wastes is still quite an expensive process, because the waste material is not fully utilized,” explains Jean-Paul Meijnen. 'A logical way of reducing the cost price of bioplastics is thus to 'teach' the bacteria to digest xylose and arabinose too.'

Meijnen used Pseudomonas putida S12 bacterium to change the sugar content in food waste into bioplastics. At first, the bacteria could only convert glucose. It could not digest the other two sugar contents in the bio waste. Then Meijnen modified the bacteria by injecting two enzymes from another bacterium, E-Coli, into its body. This modification boosted the bacteria’s ability to crack down even xylose and arabinose, thus enabling the complete use of the biowastes. “After three months of this improvement process, the bacteria could quickly digest all the xylose present in the medium. And surprisingly enough, these trained bacteria could also digest arabinose, and were thus capable of dealing with the three principal sugars in bio-waste,” elaborates Meijnen.

According to Meijnen, he successfully trained the bacteria to convert xylose into para-hydroxybenzoate (pHB), a chemical widely used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. "This strategy also proved successful, allowing us to make biochemical substances such as pHB from glucose, glycerol and xylose. In fact, the use of mixtures of glucose and xylose, or glycerol and xylose, gives better pHB production than the use of unmixed starting materials. This means that giving the bacteria pretreated bio-wastes as starting material stimulates them to make even more pHB," he explained.

After finding out the environment hazards of plastic people are looking at alternatives and bio plastic turns out to be the best option available. This has produced a lot of interest in the market. The new study finding will help bioplastic industry by turning it into a viable and cost effective option for the future.