Squids can provide eco-friendly alternative to plastics


Rosa Maldonado

Squids can provide eco-friendly alternative to plastics


By Rosa Maldonado

Anyone who has taken a science class from Airica Staley definitely knows plastic is becoming a huge problem for our environment. The good news? Scientists are figuring out how to make new eco-friendly substances with the help of squids to provide a safe alternative to plastic in the near future.

Scientists can use substances found on the tentacles of squids to help create new fabrics  that could replace the materials currently discharging large quantities of plastic into the oceans. The squid-based substances could be used to make smart fabrics that sense their environment and can even reform themselves.

As these new materials can break down in the environment without causing harm, scientists also hope these laboratory-grown materials can help cut marine pollution. Synthetic textiles like polyester are durable replacements for natural fabrics like wool and cotton, but they also contribute to the trillions of microplastics filling the world’s oceans.

Concern has been growing about this form of pollution, which is known to be consumed by underwater wildlife with potentially harmful health effects. Stated in the Independent news article, Dr. Melik Demirel has been leading a project at Pennsylvania State University growing new fibres in large fermentation tanks using the same substances that make up natural materials.“We are developing different types of protein-based fibres, similar to silk and wool and so on,” Dr. Demirel said.