Scientists have improved a naturally occurring enzyme which can digest some of our most commonly polluting plastics. But this is an example of accelerated science. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Pollard, Graham Dominick, Ramona Duman, Kamel El Omari, Vitaliy Mykhaylyk, Armin Wagner, William E. ScienceDaily . They say the enzyme, Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6, is able to "eat" polyethylene terephthalate, PET, which was patented as a plastic in the 1940s and is used in millions of tons of plastic bottles.
PET, the strong plastic commonly used in bottles, takes hundreds of years to break down in the environment. A type of bacteria evolved to live off plastic in the last few decades. The impact of such an innovative solution to plastic waste would be global. Michener, Antonella Amore, Munir S. May 4, 2017 Scientists have successfully completed the first outdoor field trial sanctioned by the US Environmental Protection Agency for genetically engineered algae.
The modified enzyme, known as PETase, can start breaking down the same material in just a few days. The enzyme it uses to digest PET was only recently identified. These differences indicated that PETase may have evolved in a PET-containing environment to enable the enzyme to degrade PET. Skaf, Michael F. Below are relevant articles that may interest you. Replay More Videos ... Researchers from the University of Portsmouth (UoP) and the U.S.
This could revolutionise the recycling process, allowing plastics to be re-used more effectively. Now we have details of the newly engineered and more efficient version of that enzyme. He said: "This research is just the beginning and there is much more to be done in this area. Crowley, Alan W. Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. MUST WATCH What is a microplastic?
Found in a dump Originally discovered in Japan, the enzyme is produced by a bacterium which "eats" PET. In the search for scientific solutions to the plastic pollution crisis, momentum like this is vital. Materials provided by University of Portsmouth . Thorne, Christopher W. Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Their aim was to study its structure, but they accidentally engineered an enzyme which was even better at breaking down PET plastics.
Ideonella sakaiensis uses the plastic as its major energy source. Closing the loop Polyesters, industrially produced from petroleum, are widely used in plastic bottles and clothing. Harry P. Johnson, H. Have any problems using the site? JUST WATCHED World's first plastic-free supermarket aisle debuts Replay More Videos ... In the last five years, the UK has exported over 2.7 million tonnes of plastic waste to the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong-based recyclers.
Eating plastic A high definition 3D model of the enzyme was created, using the powerful x-ray beamline at Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire. Current recycling processes mean that polyester materials follow a downward quality spiral, losing some of their properties each time they go through the cycle. Austin, Mark D. Lee Woodcock, John E. Copyright 2018 ScienceDaily or by other parties, where indicated.
This suggests that the natural enzyme isn't fully optimized yet and there is the potential to engineer it. Bottles become fleeces, then carpets, after which they often end up in landfill. Allen, Bryon S. McGeehan, Gregg T. Content on this website is for information only. Africa Americas Asia China Europe Middle East Opinion U.S. All rights reserved. Most Viewed Boca Raton Mayor Arrested The Mayor of Boca Raton is facing criminal charges.
They could be used to make more plastic and that would avoid using any more oil...Then basically we'd close the loop. Donohoe, Nicholas A. Characterization and engineering of a plastic-degrading aromatic polyesterase . Scientists hope new enzyme will 'eat' plastic pollution By Bard Wilkinson, CNN Updated 0829 GMT (1629 HKT) April 17, 2018 Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. International Confirm U.S.
Broward Judge Leaves Post After Berating Sick Inmate Who Later Died A Broward Circuit Court judge, under fire for the way she treated a sick inmate who later died, is not returning to work. A UFO, a bird - or just a smudge on the camera? Would YOU get a 'sleep divorce'? Is it really worth paying £280 for Nintendo's Switch? It's able to digest polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. They have grown up with the scourge of plastic pollution and feel highly motivated about trying to tackle it.
Rorrer, Fiona L. University of Portsmouth. "Engineering a plastic-eating enzyme." ScienceDaily. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. International Arabic Español © 2018 Cable News Network. We produce hundreds of millions of tons of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic each year for use in things like soda and shampoo bottles. Woman Stabbed By Husband In Babies R Us Parking Lot Lauderhill Police say a couple got into a fight in their car in a Babies R Us parking lot.
University of Portsmouth. (2018, April 16). JUST WATCHED Midway, a plastic island Replay More Videos ... X-rays 10 billion times brighter than the sun are generated at the facility by accelerating electrons around a circular tunnel. Scientists have made some promising discoveries when it comes to putting living organisms to work on this dilemma, with wax worms and bacteria a couple of recent examples.
Is Snapchat bringing its old design back? What would Her Majesty say? Researchers in the US and Britain have accidentally engineered a plastic-eating enzyme to speed up its abilities to digest plastic. It's not just an eyesore — clogged-up drains lead to flooding that attracts mosquitos and disease. Developing a technique for producing the enzyme cheaply will be one key hurdle; another will be to harness its power on an industrial scale.
Silveira, Benjamin C. Engineering a plastic-eating enzyme. MUST WATCH Midway, a plastic island 14:15 (CNN) Scientists have accidentally developed a plastic-eating enzyme that may be used to combat one of the world's worst pollution problems. Using the PETase blueprint provided by the Diamond Light Sources, the scientists re-engineered an active region of the molecule. The researchers set out to better understand the crystalline structure of PETase, which is believed to have come of age in a Japanese recycling center.