Plastic Eating Enzyme Restores Hope for Recycling
Researchers had discovered a strain of bacteria at a bottle recycling area in Japan in 2016. The bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis has enzymes that consumes plastic as energy source. The enzyme has been named PETase and is an evolved enzyme that can be our hope for recycling.
“[PET] has only been around in vast quantities over the last 50 years, so it’s actually not a very long timescale for a bacteria to have evolved to eat something so man-made,” commented Prof John McGeehan, who was involved in the current study.
Plastic bottles are made from a material called PET that can take hundred years to break down and dissolve but PETase, the enzyme, can “eat” the plastic in a matter of a few days. This discovery could help recycle and eliminate the plastic waste currently compiled in our oceans, on our lands and every where else. Our environment desperately needs such things so that we can move towards a better future rather than one that has our world in danger.