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I have been thinking a lot about bacteria this morning. You must be asking why I am suddenly talking about bacteria? Well, it was all because; last night I got food poisoning and I was as crook as a crook dog that is so crook that it made a crook dog look quite healthy and how I found out about a lady who discovered a bacteria that could eat plastic.

Suddenly, I am interested in plastic and how the environment can be saved because of bacteria and my bacterial food poisoning seems somewhat insignificant. 

More importantly, my bout of the belly bug led me to a young woman who could do a great deal to save the planet. Her name is Morgan Vague and I want to share how I found out about someone who needs to be honoured for her work.

And it all started with bacteria.

As I said to Redhead this morning, had I been dumb enough to get vaccinated, I would have been blaming the vaccine. But, given that I am not that dumb, I could not ignore the fact that I was dumb enough to eat some lamb chops that tasted a bit " iffy. " 

8 or so hours later, I knew that I had food poisoning and I was sweating like a kitchen sponge being wrung out; my stomach was churning and I was holding onto  the toilet seat and thinking that I didn't want to die and be found on the toilet with my undies down.

shayred

I realised that I hadn't vacuumed yesterday and I still had the lunch dishes on the bench. Redhead would come up to check on me, find me dead on the toilet and tell me off for being lazy and embarrassing her by CHOOSING to die on the loo. 

She is like that. Always proper and always ensuring that things are CORRECT

dsay1234

How thoughtless and inconsiderate. What would my late father say about THAT??????

She's like that, as Dodger used to say, our " Miss Redhead. "

But, back to the present day. I did survive the night and I still feel like I have been run over by a bus and no, I still haven't done the dishes or vacuumed, but at least I didn't die on the loo. 

I am still not sure which was the greater motivator: not to die, or not to have " Miss Redhead " mortified.

 sillyredshay

Absolutely no way is this Redhead. My legal advisor tells me that this is offensive and she could sue me for being unkind. Hurt feelings and all that. Thank God I buy her doughnuts otherwise I would be stuffed. 

The first thing I did this morning was to go to the computer and look up food poisoning and bacteria. Which, I am sure, is what most normal people would do after such a traumatic event. 

Yeah, absolutely. NOT!

But I did. Because that is the kind of gal I am. 

I have this problem, you see. I cannot help but explore, investigate and learn. Even when I am dying of food poisoning and the potential nuclear fallout of Redhead seeing what a sloth I am.

I cannot help it. I have to know what is happening, why it is happening and what is causing it.

 

tsshaylau

 

But I want to go to a more serious note, hence the reason for this article.

While searching for the specific bacteria that caused my horrific hell and night of nausea, sweating, fever and total torment from the bowels of hell, both literally and figuratively, I stumbled on a page about bacteria and plastics and a young lady named Morgan Vague. Suddenly, what bacteria had caused my near-death experience seemed inconsequential.

 

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I had watched a show on the tele a while ago called Mighty Rivers with biologist Jeremy Wade. He was on the mighty Mississippi and had discovered plastic in the fish. I had also recently read that tiny shards of plastic were being found in processed fish products like fish fingers, so it was something already stealthily lurking in my mind.

So it was that some dodgy lamb chops, a dose of food poisoning and a distinct fear of Redhead's wrath, led me to a young woman who was nominated for the Nobel Prize but lost out to the woke leftie poster child, Great Greta Thunberg.

 gtshay

I apologise to the Simpsons for making a caricature of Lisa Simpson. It was in bad taste.

Morgan discovered a bacteria that can break down plastic into harmless enzymes. She was nominated as Time Person of the Year but lost to Greta Thunberg? Seriously?

Amazing, someone who cries about the environment wins over someone that actually does something to help the environment. 

Things like doing something rather than just moaning about what needs to be done.

How about start with something that can actually make a difference?

Humans produce 300 million tons of new plastic each year -- yet, despite our best efforts, less than 10 percent of it ends up being recycled. Is there a better way to deal with all this waste? Morgan Vague describes her research with microbiologist Jay Mellies on bacteria that have evolved the unexpected ability to eat plastic -- and how they could help us solve our growing pollution problem.

Vague theorized that areas of high petroleum pollution may contain bacteria that had evolved to eat it.  In her home area there were  seven EPA-designated Superfund sites.  These were so polluted the government regarded their cleanup as a national priority. So using some creative methods she looked for bacteria eating plastic that had adapted to degrading plastic in water.  Vague took samples of sand, soil and water from refineries near Houston. And so she took three hundred samples from these Superfund sites back to college in Oregon in her carry on luggage.

In order for the bacteria to eat plastic, it had to be able to  break down the plastic into a material called lipase. Lipase is a chemical that allows bacteria to digest the plastic. Of the three hundred specimens, 20 could break the plastic down to lipase.  Vague focused on the top three bacterial producers of the material: Pseudomonas putida, Bacillus cereus and another unknown strain Vague has dobbed Pseudomonas morgenensis as she is the first to identify it.  She put these three on a diet of PET and discovered that the bacteria ate the plastic. source

Bacteria Had Evolved Naturally

Importantly, as the three bacteria had evolved naturally, there was no risk of them getting loose in the environment and eating plastics they were not supposed to.

Morgan Vague teaches us that there are good bacteria and bad bacteria, much like the good guys that live in our gut and the bad guys that live in dodgy lamb chops.

More importantly, I only learned about her because of the food poisoning and therein lieth the lesson:

Research, read, explore and keep an open mind.

As Douglas Adams said once 

" If you are lost, follow someone. You may not end up where you wanted to go but you may end up where you were meant to be. "

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