Scientists discover PLASTIC EATING enzyme

Article appeared first in the 4Ocean newsletter 16th April 2020.

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With millions of pounds of plastic waste entering our oceans every single year, there has been an ongoing search for new solutions to reduce the amount of plastic we use. Last week, a research journal as published that had tested thousands of microorganisms to see which one, if any, had the ability to break down plastic. In the end, there was one enzyme that performed above the rest, a composting organism that was originally discovered in a pile of leaves

According to Carbios, the company behind the breakthrough, the enzymes can be mutated so they can break down PET plastic in just a few hours. In addition, they can be used to create new food-grade plastic bottles. If true, this could reduce our reliance on oil to make plastics, which would then reduce carbon.

For now, all we can do is continue to monitor their progress. Carbios, and their partner biotechnology company Novozymes, say that their goal is to have this program up and running at an industrial-scale by 2024.