This Enzyme Can Destroy Plastic In Days, Not Million Years

Harin - Oct 05, 2020


This Enzyme Can Destroy Plastic In Days, Not Million Years

Researchers have developed a cocktail of plastic-eating enzymes that would take days to degrade plastic, a process that normally takes hundreds of years.

For our planet, plastic is a blessing and a curse at the same time. But the amount of plastic getting accumulated nad dumped lately has caused serious damage to our environment.

To deal with this situation, researchers have developed a cocktail of plastic-eating enzymes. According to researchers, it would take this cocktail days to degrade plastic, a process that normally takes hundreds of years.

Plastic Bottle Waste
It would take this cocktail days to degrade plastic, a process that normally takes hundreds of years.

The enzyme cocktail has PETase and MHETase produced by Ideonella sakaiensis. This is a type of bacteria feeding on PET plastic used to make plastic bottles.

Back in 2018, Professor John McGeehan from the University of Portsmouth accidentally developed the first enzyme feasting on plastic. But, the original enzyme wasn’t fast enough. Researchers from the team were trying to speed up the process. And one of the methods was using a combination of enzymes.

As per McGeehan, PETase attacks plastics’ surface while MHETases degrades things up further. The team’s first experiments proved that the two enzymes worked better together.

Plastic Bottle Waste 2
As per McGeehan, PETase attacks plastics’ surface while MHETases degrades things up further.

The result is a chimeric enzyme that is three times faster than the separate enzymes used in the experiments.

Apart from PET, the cocktail enzyme can also degrade polyethylene furoate or PEF found in beer bottles. Unfortunately, it can only degrade these two kinds of plastic. The team is working on other combinations of enzymes, according to McGeehan.

>>> Plastic Has Finally Got Into Our Bodies, Maintaining In Organs And Tissue

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