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A solution for plastic waste pollution

Project description

Tackling plastic pollution worm-style?

There’s a big appetite for plastics – a major environmental and health hazard. If current consumption patterns and waste management practices continue, there’ll be about 12 billion tonnes of plastic litter in landfills and the natural environment by 2050. Plastics’ production and degradation need to be sustainable. Efforts to identify microorganisms that break down plastic have intensified but their biodegradation rates are very low. The EU-funded SOLFORPLAS project will develop a strategy to implement plastic biodegradation as a solution for plastic pollution. To do so, it will integrate physical, chemical and biological treatment mimicking the biodegradation process in worms.

Objective

Since the 1970s, the mismanagement of plastic waste has been increasingly threatening our health and environment. Rather than been reduced, plastic production is growing exponentially. By 2050, the estimation of plastic waste in landfills or in the natural environment verges on 12 billion metric tons, if current production and waste management trends continue. Societies are raising awareness about this concern, although our dependency makes nearly impossible to imagine a world without plastics. This urges for a solution making plastic production and degradation sustainable. To date, important efforts have been made to isolate and identify unique microorganisms capable of utilizing plastics as a carbon source. Although there is empirical evidence of it, the rates of biodegradation are still very low. In SOLFORPLAS project, we will apply cutting-edge biology tools, including fermentation and analytical processes, together with state-of-the-art methods in industrial microbiology research, to investigate plastic biodegradation using a highly-optimized strategy that combines an extruder and a bioreactor. The innovative combined strategy will integrate physical, chemical and biological treatment, which will mimic the whole biodegradation process taking place in worms. Multiple polymer characteristics will be monitored to determine/quantify its biodegradation. Overall, SOLFORPLAS project aim at stablishing a combined strategy to carry out plastic biodegradation as a solution for plastic pollution, one of the biggest environmental that humans are facing in this century.

Coordinator

INSTITUT NATIONAL DES SCIENCES APPLIQUEES DE TOULOUSE
Net EU contribution
€ 184 707,84
Address
AVENUE DE RANGUEIL 135
31077 TOULOUSE CEDEX 4
France

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Region
Occitanie Midi-Pyrénées Haute-Garonne
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 184 707,84