PARIS, Dec 7 — Would you drink from a cup made from salmon sperm?
You might have to overcome your initial reaction to help reduce plastic pollution, since Chinese researchers have developed a new biodegradable material using DNA from the sperm of this fish that we usually prefer to enjoy in sushi.
What if the solution to reduce plastic pollution had (finally) been found by a team of Chinese researchers?
If it were April 1, we might have doubted the veracity of the news, but scientists from Tianjin University have extracted DNA from salmon sperm to develop a gel-like substance that can be molded into any shape.
More concretely, these extracted strands of DNA were combined with polymers from vegetable oil. A freeze-drying process was then used to obtain this particular hydrogel.
The secrets of this surprising technique were published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. In the publication, the scientists explain that this material — whose main asset is its biodegradable nature — has been used to make a cup.
According to the researchers, never before has a way been found to develop a plastic that is so environmentally friendly.
This material supposedly produces 97 per cent fewer carbon emissions than the manufacture of polystyrene-based plastic.
According to the Wings of the Ocean nonprofit, some 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year in the world. Between eight and 12 million tonnes end up in the oceans. In addition to these already alarming figures, some 5,000 billion pieces of plastic are currently floating on the ocean surface, according to scientific estimates.
In light of this, you might not look at your sushi take-out in the same way again... especially since it’s probably served in plastic. — ETX Studio