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Mon Apr 13, 2020, 07:25 AM

Scientists create mutant enzyme that recycles plastic bottles in hours

Source: The Guardian

Scientists create mutant enzyme that recycles plastic bottles in hours

Bacterial enzyme originally found in compost can be used to make high-quality new bottles

Damian Carrington Environment editor
@dpcarrington
Wed 8 Apr 2020 16.00 BST
Last modified on Wed 8 Apr 2020 18.10 BST

A mutant bacterial enzyme that breaks down plastic bottles for recycling in hours has been created by scientists.

The enzyme, originally discovered in a compost heap of leaves, reduced the bottles to chemical building blocks that were then used to make high-quality new bottles. Existing recycling technologies usually produce plastic only good enough for clothing and carpets.

The company behind the breakthrough, Carbios, said it was aiming for industrial-scale recycling within five years. It has partnered with major companies including Pepsi and L’Oréal to accelerate development. Independent experts called the new enzyme a major advance.

Billions of tonnes of plastic waste have polluted the planet, from the Arctic to the deepest ocean trench, and pose a particular risk to sea life. Campaigners say reducing the use of plastic is key, but the company said the strong, lightweight material was very useful and that true recycling was part of the solution.

The new enzyme was revealed in research published on Wednesday in the journal Nature. The work began with the screening of 100,000 micro-organisms for promising candidates, including the leaf compost bug, which was first discovered in 2012.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/08/scientists-create-mutant-enzyme-that-recycles-plastic-bottles-in-hours

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Related: An engineered PET depolymerase to break down and recycle plastic bottles (Nature)

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Reply Scientists create mutant enzyme that recycles plastic bottles in hours (Original post)
Eugene Apr 2020 OP
mahatmakanejeeves Apr 2020 #1

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Mon Apr 13, 2020, 07:29 AM

1. Wait 'til it escapes. NT

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