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Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:12 AM

Scientists develop 'mutant' enzyme that eats plastic (PET)

Scientists have developed an enzyme which is able to "digest" some of the planet's most commonly polluting plastics.

Undertaken by teams at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the U.K.'s University of Portsmouth, the research could potentially lead to a "recycling solution" for plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which lingers in the environment for hundreds of years.

The researchers were initially examining the crystal structure of PETase, an enzyme that can digest PET, in order to understand how it works. But during their research, the scientists managed to engineer an enzyme that was more effective at "degrading" the plastic than the naturally occurring one, which was recently discovered in the soil of a Japanese recycling plant.

"Serendipity often plays a significant role in fundamental scientific research and our discovery here is no exception," John McGeehan, director of the Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences in the School of Biological Sciences at Portsmouth, said in a statement Monday.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/17/scientists-develop-mutant-enzyme-that-eats-plastic.html

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Reply Scientists develop 'mutant' enzyme that eats plastic (PET) (Original post)
HAB911 Apr 2018 OP
OregonBlue Apr 2018 #1
HAB911 Apr 2018 #2

Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 10:08 AM

1. I immediately thought of a movie where it develops a brain and starts eating all the plastic in our

phones and computers and cars and nuclear weapons, etc.

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Response to OregonBlue (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 10:32 AM

2. I don't think it needs a brain

just hunger!

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