Is it possible to convert plastics into vanilla flavouring?

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Do you think it is possible to convert plastics into vanilla flavouring?.The answer is “YES”.Recently scientists have pioneered a technology that uses genetically modified bacteria to turn used plastic bottles into vanilla-flavouring. So in future we can eat vanilla ice cream that is made from plastic bottles.

We know that there has been a growing concern about the wastes from plastics.The global plastic waste crisis is now recognized as one of the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet, giving rise to an urgent need for new technologies to enable a circular economy for plastics.

The scientists, Joanna C. Sadler and Stephen Wallace of the University of Edinburgh used an engineered microorganism, Escherichia coli, for bio degrading polyethylene terephthalate polymer (PET) plastics into vanillin.


The manufacturing of  natural vanilla is very less and has been falling in recent years.Less than 1% of vanilla flavour comes from actual vanilla orchids.85% of vanillin is currently synthesised from chemical substances derived from fossil fuels.Flavour companies are working feverishly to discover additional sources of natural vanillin and launch initiatives to improve its qualities.


PET is a clear, strong and lightweight plastic that is widely used in food and beverage packaging.The basic building blocks of PET are ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. Also it is a good energy efficient material.But anyway accumulation of plastics cause serious problems to both the human and the environment.

Among the microorganisms, E. coli is of particular interest due to its ease of handling, short fermentation process, rapid protein expression, and low cost of cultivation. Increasing the efficiency of PETase secretion in E. coli is beneficial for the efficient degradation of PET.


Stephen Wallace says that his research challenges the recognition of plastic as a problematic waste and their research shows how plastics can be used as new sources of carbon that can be recycled into high quality products.Joanna Sadler said that this is the first use of a biological system to convert plastic waste into valuable industrial chemicals.So in short conversion of plastic waste materials into useful products solve our major issue of plastic waste   accumulation.

Check your knowledge

Polyethylene terephthalate is a form of polyester.It is moulded into plastic bottles and containers for food and beverage packaging,personal care products and many other consumer products.

Vanillin is chemically a 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde.Its molecular formula is C8H8O3.It has a role as a plant metabolite, an anti-inflammatory agent, a flavouring agent, an antioxidant and an anticonvulsant.

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