Plastic-eating bacteria in ‘ocean desert’

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Scientists have found an organism that may be eating plastic in the ocean, according to a report in Nature News. But whether the bug is green or mean remains to be seen, a scientist told CNN on Wednesday.

It has been proven that microbes can degrade plastic, said marine microbiologist Tracy Mincer of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. What’s significant is that the plastic is being degraded in a nutrient-poor area of the sea, an “ocean desert,” Mincer said.

The bacteria, found in a region of the North Atlantic Ocean called the Sargasso Sea, is clearly breaking down the plastic, but scientists don