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Decay of plastic in space by the Ideonella Sakaiensis Bacteria - Winner of the finals in the Spacelab 2021 Contest – Shimon Ben Zvi High school, Givatayim

Shimon Ben Zvi High School Givatayim, as part of the Ramon Foundation’s Spacelab program with Dr. Pirchi Waxman's Lab, Bar-Ilan University

The purpose of our experiment is to examine the effect of microgravity on the rate of decay of plastic by the Ideonella Sakaiensis bacteria.

It has recently been discovered that there are certain bacteria which, under conditions of microgravity, undergo mutations which provide them with highly-developed capabilities. These bacteria become stronger, larger and their propagation rate increases in comparison with other bacteria. The bacteria we are studying, Ideonella Sakaiensis, is of the order of bacteria which undergo this process. Therefore our hypothesis is that also the Ideonella Sakaiensis will undergo this same transformation in space, following which it will become able to biodegrade more plastic than bacterial which have not undergone the same mutation.

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