Discovery and Genetic Code Expansion of a Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Hydrolase from the Human Saliva Metagenome for the Degradation and Bio‐Functionalization of PET
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An enzyme found in human saliva can degrade the polymer polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
PET is a widely used for packing and plastic bottles. Enzymes capable of degrading the polymer could be used to realize sustainable recycling of PET or to convert into other useful chemicals. Robust enzymes capable of withstanding wide temperature, pH and salinity ranges are needed for this.
A team led by researchers from Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC) in Thailand reasoned that the human digestive system would be a promising place to look for such enzymes since bacteria in the microbiome may have evolved the ability to breakdown PET due to preponderance of PET packaging.
From a shortlist of ten candidates, they discovered one that had a high activity against PET over a wide range of conditions.
- Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 61, e202203061 (2022). doi: 10.1002/anie.202203061