A plastic eating enzyme was created


American and British researchers accidentally devised an enzyme capable of destroying plastic. This could help solve the global problem related to this type of pollution, says a study published Monday. More than eight million tonnes of plastics end up in the world’s oceans every year, raising concerns about the toxicity of this petroleum derivative and its impact on health. Despite recycling efforts, the vast majority of plastics can last for hundreds of years. Scientists are looking for a way to better eliminate them. She eats PET Scientists from the Portsmouth University of the United Kingdom and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory focused on a bacterium discovered in Japan a few years ago: Ideonella sakaiensis. It feeds only on one type of plastic, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used in many plastic bottles. Enzyme more effective than bacteria Japanese researchers believe that this bacterium has evolved quite recently in a recycling center, because plastics were only invented in the 1940s. The goal of the US-UK team was to understand the operation of one of its enzymes called PETase, by discovering its structure. “But they went a step further by accidentally designing an enzyme that is even more effective at breaking down PET plastics,” according to findings released Monday in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Scientists from the University of South Florida and Campinas University of Brazil also participated in experiments that resulted in the chance mutation of a much more potent enzyme than natural PETase. Scientists are now working to improve performance in hopes of eventually being able to use it in an industrial process of destroying plastics. (Ps / nxp) Created: 17.04.2018, 07:08


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