Bacteria to Destroy Civilization

I wrote about plastic eating enzymes a few months ago and at first glance it looked pretty safe. But plastic eating bacteria is really scary:
Plastic that would last almost 500 years in a landfill can be broken down in a day by bacteria armed with FAST-PETase and turned into base units that can be reused.
I’m not a biologist. Can someone tell me how to practically contain such a bacteria such that it does not destroy civilization as we know it?


7 thoughts on “Bacteria to Destroy Civilization

  1. Well, once again we see science going the long/wrong way around a problem.
    Plastics are mostly oil. Hydrocarbons with chlorine atoms hooked into the molecule. All are quite easy to break down with heat. No need for exotic bugs.
    And I truly can’t believe someone hasn’t seen the value of trash dumps. All the elements we threw away are right there waiting to be turned back into something useful.
    I bet a team of mining engineers could come up with a system in short order if commissioned to do so.
    In mining the copper companies were using some kind of bug to break down sulfide ores in heap leach operations down in Morenci, AZ. Not sure how that all turned out. But those bugs lived and worked in sulfuric acid!

  2. If you made the bacteria an extremophile that requires a specific type of environment to thrive, or have an enzyme to attack plastics that requires the extreme or unusual conditions to function, so that only plastics in the reactor would be attacked, would work.

    The issue is we already have a method to extract oil from plastics, and have metals etc precipitate out. It’s just an issue of cost-effectiveness and scaling it. Thermal depoymerization, TDP.

    But the PTB want the problem as a political control issue, not a solution.

    • Sounds like a wonderful job for a patch of desert and a few windmills?
      As you say. Things don’t work because some group doesn’t want them to work.

      • If we had some nuclear reactors around with some waste heat literally going to waste, maybe someone would find a way to use every part of the buffalo.

  3. Read a sci-fi novel ages ago about an oil company releases a bacteria that eats hydrocarbons in response to one of their oil tankers crashing, in a PR effort….of course things go south and everything made by hydrocarbons is destroyed….think it was “Ill Winds,” but it’s been 25 years or so since I read it

  4. The only 2 methods I’m aware of both come from the movies:

    Kill it with fire

    Take off and nuke the site from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

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