Cost Effective Mutant Enzyme
Researchers from industrial company called Carbios recently created a special mutant bacterial enzyme that has potential of breaking down plastic bottles in only a couple of hours. Carbios is a chemistry company headquarters in France that focuses on discovering and developing enzymatic bioprocesses applied to plastic and textile polymers. This new enzyme may exhibit the potential to revolutionize the process of recycling. Carbios partnered with Pepsi, L’Oreal and other major industries to help develop the technology. Conventional method for recycling plastic needs to go through a thermomechanical process that is not of high enough quality and is mostly used for other different products like clothing and carpets.
Research paper following the discovery was published in the journal Nature. This PET Hydrolase enyzme can break down 90% plastic bottles and other PET polymers into their individual chemical composites. Shockingly this process is completed in just 10 hours. Later this individual chemical composites could be reused to make brand new bottles. According to the research paper the mutant enzyme outperforms all PET hydrolases reported so far.
“It had been completely forgotten, but it turned out to be the best,” told by Alain Marty at the Université de Toulouse, France and the chief science officer at Carbios
Moreover this mutant enyzme is fortunately highly cost effective to synthesize. In fact, according to the researchers, making new plastic from oil would have cost 25 times as much.
“It’s a real breakthrough in the recycling and manufacturing of PET,” said Saleh Jabarin, professor at The University of Toledo, Ohio and a member of Carbios Scientific Committee.
The researchers are hoping to test the material’s “industrial and commercial potential” in 2021 in France, according to Marty. “Our goal is to be up and running by 2024, 2025, at large industrial scale,” told by deputy chief executive at Carbios Martin Stephan.