They Made Plastic Out of What?!

They Made Plastic Out of What?!

As climate change continues to look more and more grim, the need to find environmentally friendly alternatives that are innovative and sustainable grows more and more urgent with each passing day. Now, beyond the typical solar panels or paper straws, some of the newer proposals have been getting, um, more creative.

Scientists in China have devised a new eco-conscious form of plastic made of salmon sperm. As strange as it may sound, apparently you can make a squishy material called hydrogel from a couple strands of DNA combined with a chemical in vegetable oil to bind it all together. It's unclear why it needs to be extracted from sperm specifically, but they discovered that the gel can be moulded into different shapes and then freeze dried to be made solid.

Researchers have already used the hardened gel to make a cup, a puzzle piece and a model of DNA and while they won't be winning any design awards anytime soon, the new sperm-based plastic is actually biodegradable which is a better alternative than the tons already floating in the pacific ocean. Considering rehydration is needed in order to be recycled, using it as a viable cup option is probably out of the question (not to mention drinking from a cup made out of dried fish semen is a tough sell), though it theoretically could be used for other non-moisture related purposes.

Considering how abundant DNA is as a resource, this new hydrogel plastic could prove to be a good alternative... how scientists will collect enough sperm to make mass production possible, though, has yet to be determined.

Photo via Getty