Pressed plastic waste ready for loading is seen at the Prabkaya Recycle Factory in Pathum Thani outside Bangkok, Thailand, June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha - RC162604BF80

By combining two kinds of bacteria and sunlight, researchers have devised a new way to efficiently create biodegradable plastics.
One of the bacteria, Halomonas boliviensis, exists naturally in reflective, salty Bolivian pools a few thousand meters above sea level. Its partner, synthetic cyanobacteria, produces sugar by using sunlight. H. boliviensis then feeds on the sugar to produce the polymer used to create bioplastics, which the bacteria stores similar to how humans store fats. 
“We know these symbioses exist in nature already,” said Taylor L. Weiss, the lead author of the most recent study, who has been working for months with Daniel Ducat and Eric Young at Michigan State University. “We’re mimicking that.”
Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now
Compared to similar experimental systems, the bioplastic production rates from the paired bacteria were more than 20 times faster. Some research has attempted to carry out this process using one species, rather than …
READ MORE ON NEWSWEEK.COM