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VIENNA - Microbes from the stomachs of cows and sheep could be used to break down synthetic textiles, such as polyester, for recycling, according to a new scientific study.

Researchers at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in the Austrian city of Vienna drew liquid from the rumen, the largest compartment of the animals' stomachs, to source microbes used to help break down their diet of coarse vegetation.

They suspected they might also be capable of breaking down plastics as cows consume a natural polyester produced by plants, called cutin, as part of their herbivorous diets.

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