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Ocean Kickstarter of the Month: Control ocean plastic with BioBooms

On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.


“Two thirds of “collected” ocean plastic end up back in the ocean. Why scoop it when microbes can poop it?”

BioBooms: Eat the plastic out of our oceans, one trawl at a time.

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We’ve seen nearly 3 decades of ill-conceived ocean cleanup projects, and we’re still dealing with many of the same issues that arose when the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was first discovered. Adding insult to injury, a recent study revealed that almost 70% of all garbage collected during these ocean cleanup operation has ended up back in the ocean thanks to poor downstream control and a limited understanding of the plastic lifecycle on the part of these programs. Indeed, without longitudinal support, these plastic sucking boondoggles tend to be all flash and no pan. The point-source operations, like Waterwheel Global, have fared much better, but still do nothing for the plastic that is already out there. 

BioBooms has the potential to change that. Using a proprietary plastic consuming microbe, the BioBooms team hopes to break down ocean plastic in situ, converting photodegraded plastics into fuel that will then be used to power their ships.

BioBooms: Eat the plastic out of our oceans, one trawl at a time.

Onwards to the Ocean Kickstarter Criteria!

  1. Is it sound, reasonable, and informed by science? CRISPR-CRASS-based genetic engineering has been tried and tested for almost 20 years. By all reports, they’ve already developed their microbes and have completed early field trials. The BioBoom team is new to genetic engineering, but they have a solid base in oceanography and the right partners to pull this off.
  1. Is there a clear goal, timeline, and budget; and are they partnering with the people who have experience hitting those marks? Their budget and schedule are ambitious, but doable. I’d be surprised if they didn’t overshoot their timeline by several months, but that is by no means a deal breaker. I doubt they’ll finish field trials on time with such a relatively small budget–ocean work is either expensive or time-consuming, and with their budget, I know which side they’ll fall on. They are partnering with the right teams to finish bio-development and have the at-sea experience in-house.
  1. Do some of the parties involved have a successful record with other crowdfunding projects and experience delivering on rewards. This team is a hodgepodge of leaders in the ocean plastic world. Some of them have successfully funded and delivered other ocean cleaning projects. Some have successfully funded and later failed to deliver on projects. There’s a lot of ocean plastics experience here and a good bit of crowdfunding experience. These aren’t starry-eyed tweens.

The Sea Factor: You know, we’ve been backing ocean plastic projects since the very beginning of this series. It’s still one of the most pressing ocean issues of our era and I continue to throw my support behind the projects with the highest chance of success.

Past Updates: New Year, fresh list! All past recommendations have been funded or closed. Currently, Southern Fried Science recommendations enjoy an 83% success rate with a 76% ship-within-3-months-of-promised-shipping-date rate.


On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.


Deep-sea biologist, population/conservation geneticist, backyard farm advocate. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.


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