Biochemical Engineering Special Interest Group
biological engineering professionals

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Recycling hope for plastic-hungry enzyme

Scientists have engineered an enzyme which can digest polyethylene terephthalate, used in plastic bottles.Professor John McGeehan at the University of Portsmouth and Dr Gregg Beckham at US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) solved the crystal structure of PETase—a recently discovered enzyme that digests PET— and used this 3D information to understand how it works. During this study, they inadvertently engineered an enzyme that is even better at degrading the plastic than the one that evolved in nature.

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