Enzyme can ‘eat plastic’
SCIENTISTS have engineered a plastic-eating enzyme that could in future help in the fight against pollution.
The enzyme is able to digest polyethylene terephthalate, or PET – a form of plastic patented in the 1940s and now used in millions of tonnes of plastic bottles. It can persist for hundreds of years as an environmental pollutant.
Researchers from Britain’s University of Portsmouth and the US Department of Energy made the discovery while examining the structure of an enzyme that evolved in a waste recycling centre in Japan.