BIODEGRADABLE PLASTIC FINDS ROOTS IN KOREA

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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — A South Korean research institute recently announced the development of a new biodegradable plastic made from the fiber of genetically engineered aspen trees.

The National Forestry Breed Research Institute, a subsidiary of the Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, developed the plastic after 15 months of experimenting.

Scientists transformed the molecular structure of aspen trees to resemble the qualities of an oil-based plastic.

The method involves the transfer of a gene of soil bacteria to the genetic content of the tree. The genetic transfer is then manipulated by chemical catalysts to create a plasticlike content biodegradable over a 10-month period.