plastic-eating enzyme could help fight pollution, scientists say - pet plastic
Scientists in Britain and the United States say they have made a plastic
Eating enzymes that may help fight pollution in the future.
This enzyme can digest PET-PET.
A plastic form that was patented in the 1940 s and is now used in millions of plastic bottles.
PET plastics can be preserved in the environment for hundreds of years and currently pollute large areas of land and sea worldwide.
Researchers from the University of Portsmouth and the United StatesS.
The Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory made this discovery when studying the structure of natural enzymes believed to have evolved at the Japan waste recycling center.
Finding the enzyme helps bacteria break down or digest PET plastics, the researchers decided to "adjust" its structure by adding some amino acids, says John McGeehan, a professor at Portsmouth. led the work.
This leads to an unexpected change in the role of the enzyme --
Plastic that allows it
Ability to work faster.
"We have done better than natural enzymes," McGeehan said in an interview with Reuters . ".
"It's really exciting because it means there's potential to optimize the enzyme further.
"The team's findings, published in the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, are now further improving the enzyme to see if they can break down PET plastics on an industrial scale.
"In the next few years, it is very likely that we will see an industry-viable process that will bring pets and other potential [plastics]
"Go back to their original building so they can recycle it sustainably," said McGeehan . ".
Independent scientists, who are not directly involved in the study, say this is exciting, but they warn that the development of this enzyme as a potential pollution solution is still in its early stages.
Question: how to deal with all our rubbish? The Pacific garbage patch is 16 times larger than the estimated plastic bag?
"Enzyme is right
Toxic, biodegradable, and can be produced in large quantities by microorganisms, "said Oliver Jones, an analytical chemistry expert at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
"Using enzyme technology to help solve the growing waste problem in society by breaking down some of the most commonly used plastics has great potential.
Douglas Kyle, professor of bioanalytical science at the University of Manchester, said that the next few rounds of work "should improve the enzyme further.
"Overall, this progress brings the goal of sustainable recycling of polymers closer together," he added . ".