This “Mutant Enzyme” Breaks Down Plastic

As reported at the time, the new bacteria could break down PET into much smaller compounds. The discovery was a promising step toward a solution to the world’s mounting plastic problem.

Now, scientists at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory have made a new breakthrough. While studying the structure of an enzyme found in that bacteria, the researchers accidentally created a “mutant enzyme” that can break down plastic within a few days.
This happy accident allows the complete recycling of bottles back to their original form, The Guardian’s Damian Carrington reports. The researchers detail their results in a study published earlier this month in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

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