Scientists engineer plastics-eating enzyme



Researchers in the US and UK have engineered an enzyme that could help solve the problem of PET bottle litter.

The breakthrough is the latest in a series of tantalising research results hinting that certain enzymes and microbes that use them might pave a way to degrade mountains of plastics scrap.

Scientists at the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Portsmouth say they have tweaked a bacterium's enzyme to improve its ability to degrade PET. The natural enzyme is in a bacterium called Ideonella sakaiensis, which researchers recently found was degrading PET in a Japanese waste recycling centre.


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