Scientists engineered plastic-eating ‘super-enzymes’ that can break down bottles in days

October 4, 2020

More than 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually worldwide. Most take hundreds of years to break down, and even then, they just splinter into tiny microplastic pieces that will likely never biodegrade. Microplastics make it into the food we eat and show up in our poop.

But new types of engineered enzymes, created from plastic-eating bacteria, appear able to break down plastics in a matter of days.

These “super-enzymes” were made by researchers at the Center for Enzyme Innovation in the UK and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado. They break down a type of common plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) — used in single-use bottles as well as clothing and carpets — into its chemical building blocks.

Read more online at Business Insider.