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This Mutant Super-Enzyme Can Eat Plastic Waste Within Days

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 Chemistry   |   Environmental   |   Science
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Researchers have re-engineered a plastic-eating enzyme to degrade plastic bottles within days and it might be ready to start eating our trash as soon as next year.
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The impacts of plastic pollution continue to be felt worldwide as we continue to struggle to find an impactful way to break down the convenient material.

But single-use plastics might have finally met their match.

A recent breakthrough that builds off of plastic-eating bugs discovered in 2016 might be able to enable full recycling of plastic products. The recent plastic-devouring development comes in the form of a super-enzyme derived from bacteria that naturally evolved the ability to eat plastic. The super-enzyme in question breaks down plastic bottles six times faster than before!

Find out more about how this plastic-eating marvel came to be in this Elements.

#plasticpollution #recycle #sustainability #enzyme #pollution #plastic #waste #science #seeker #elements

Read More:

Scientists Made a Super-Enzyme That Absolutely Ravages Plastic Bottles
https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a34208031/super-enzyme-eats-plastic/
"The enzymes work together to chop the most common consumer plastic into chemical building blocks, which means they can be reapplied as the ingredients for the next generation of plastics instead of distilling these ingredients from newly extracted petrochemicals."

Are plastic-eating bacteria the solution to ocean pollution? Its not that simple, science shows.
https://www.edf.org/blog/2018/07/13/are-plastic-eating-bacteria-solution-ocean-pollution-its-not-simple-science-shows
"In fact, some scientists think microbes eating plastic are already an important reason that the plastics numbers do not add up the amount of plastic we see in the ocean is much less than the total amount of plastic calculated to have been piled and poured into it."

Characterization and engineering of a two-enzyme system for plastics depolymerization
https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/09/23/2006753117
"The recent discovery of a two-enzyme system for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) deconstruction, ... suggests that nature may be evolving similar deconstruction strategies for synthetic plastics."

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