Our planet has numerous problems, and they were all caused by us. While some people still avoid the issue, it has become clear in the past years that the state of Earth is degrading. Pollution is the main factor, and it is important to find solutions that save the planet.
Plastic has always been a huge problem. Studies revealed that each year, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans. These are huge quantities, and marine life is directly affected. However, it appears that there might be a surprising solution for plastic pollution.
A recent report which was published in Frontiers in Chemistry on Thursday revealed that squids have a specific protein which could be used in the future to create a plastic alternative, one that is sustainable. The lead author of the report is Melik Demirel, from Pennsylvania State University. “I am a polymer scientist and want to minimize plastic pollution and create environmental sustainability,” he presented himself.
Squids have suction cups on their arms and tentacles and they use them in order to catch their prey. These cups also have some sort of teeth which is used to grasp the food. Taking a closer look at those teeth revealed that they are made from a specific protein which is quite similar to silk
These proteins have been fascinating for the scientific community, and it appears that they are incredibly useful. In the report, Demirel explains that he and his team used this protein for various prototypes, including coatings, 3D objects and fibers.
The good news is that these are natural materials which are biodegradable. They represent a viable alternative for plastics. More than that, squids don’t need to be used, as scientists managed to create these proteins in the lab.
Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.