In Israel, researchers at the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University have developed a biodegradable plastic using algae-digesting microorganism archaea isolated from the Dead Sea. Unlike other bioplastic technologies, deploying the process at scale will not require large amounts of land. The archaea can also withstand high salt levels.
“The innovative feature of this work is that the archaea from which we derive the plastic polymers were fed on seaweeds that we have produced in ocean water. This is the major news of our findings. If these polymers become a part of the future plastic production or even a complete alternative, no freshwater or land will be needed for the process,” Dr. Alexander Golberg tells Forward.com. “There are already a lot of polymers out there, which are not made from fossil fuels, but if you look at the production processes, you will see that they require a lot of water and land.”
The breakthrough comes as new solutions to address the plastic waste crisis are needed globally.