Reporting from Florida, a study conducted on April 16, 2018, delivered that researchers in America and Great Britain accidentally developed an engineered enzyme that feeds on plastic. The enzyme is hoped to somehow counter the plastic pollution issue. A census conducted earlier this year reports that more than ten million of plastic waste is dumped into the oceans every year. People are not informed well enough. But this plastic waste can indeed cause a negative impact on their health and overall well-being.
Plastic is the only biochemical that can resist fossil cycle. Making plastic the only substance to resist environmental pressure and avoid any weather situations. Decomposition of plastic is rather a hard job for the surroundings.
Ideonella Sakaiensis can be used to recycle plastic
Scientists at the University of Portsmouth and the US Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory decided to focus on a bacteria that occurs naturally under normal conditions. It is believed that the bacteria kept on self-evolving in a plastic waste house even before plastic was distributed commercially.
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The bacteria is known as Ideonella Sakaiensis, and it appears that it feeds often off a plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), used widely in plastic bottles.
A Revolutionizing Discovery:
The purpose of the research was to understand how one of its enzymes named “PETase” actually functions.
“But they ended up going a step further. And accidentally engineered an enzyme which was even better at breaking down PET plastics”. Said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, US journal.
Working with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the scientists shot a beam of powerful XRAY on PETase. The X-Rays were stronger than the ones used in electron experiment back in 1980.
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Using the PETase molecule hierarchy provided by the Diamond Light Sources, the scientists were able to re-engineer the active part of the molecule thus resulting in a mutant molecule with the ability to eat and attack plastic in its raw form.
It could also attack another form of plastic, polyethylene furandicarboxylate (PEF). Studies moreover show that the enzyme was pretty active doing the aforementioned. You can use this enzyme to turn back plastic to its original form.