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Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

Student scientists engineer bacteria to break down plastic, hope to help clean Baltimore harbor

Student scientists engineer bacteria to break down plastic, hope to help clean Baltimore harbor

Six Baltimore high schoolers spent the summer genetically altering a common bacteria so that it can, in theory, dissolve plastic — a project they hope could one day eliminate tons of waste washing into the Inner Harbor.

The local team of juniors and seniors — four from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, one from Western High School and a home-schooled student — is building on the work of Japanese researchers who discovered a species of bacteria that can break down plastic.

The students' research could show that other bacteria can be engineered to do the same.

Their work, done at a 4-year-old community lab in East Baltimore, won a bronze medal...

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