Plastic Recycling Market to Experience Growth as Researchers Identify an Enzyme that Aid in TPA Breakdown

Posted On May 11, 2022     

Four hundred million tonnes of plastic garbage is created each year. Most of it ends up in landfills. Scientists who pioneered enzymes to consume plastic have taken a critical step forward in discovering nature-based solutions to the global plastics epidemic.

They identified an enzyme with a surprising ability to aid in terephthalate (TPA) breakdown. It is one of the chemical building blocks of polyethene terephthalate (PET) plastic used to produce single-use drink bottles, garments, and carpets.

A team has now created a natural enzyme capable of degrading PET plastic. In the process, PET polymer is broken down into the chemical building units ethylene glycol (EG) and TPA by enzymes (PETase and MHETase). This new study dramatically contributes to the Plastic Recycling Market as it outlines the following measures, specifically for dealing with TPA.

The researchers discovered that a PET-consuming bacteria enzyme identifies TPA like a glove. The group subsequently demonstrated that this enzyme, known as TPADO, breaks down TPA and only TPA with astounding efficiency.

In the last few years, outstanding progress has been made in engineering enzymes to break down PET plastic into its constituent parts. This research takes it a step further, looking at the first enzyme in a cascade that can dismantle those building blocks into simpler compounds. Microorganisms can then use these to produce sustainable chemicals and materials, thereby creating valuable products from plastic waste.

Researchers were able to construct a comprehensive 3D structure of the TPADO enzyme using strong X-rays at the Diamond Light Source. Thus, revealing how it executes this critical process. Researchers now have a roadmap for creating faster and more efficient versions of this complex enzyme.

It is hoped that this research will pave the way for improving bacterial enzymes such as TPADO. It will aid in the fight against plastic pollution and the development of biological systems capable of converting waste plastic into valuable items.

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