Skip to main content

Enzyme created that can breakdown plastics

by Futures Centre, Apr 24
1 minute read

Scientists have accidentally created an enzyme that is able to breakdown plastic, specifically polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – which takes hundreds of years to degrade in natural environments. The research was spurred on by the 2016 discovery of a bacterium that had evolved to eat plastic at a waste dump in Japan. This led scientists to decipher the structure of the enzyme, before tweaking it to see how it would evolve, which inadvertently made it up to 20% more efficient at degrading PET than its original form. Currently the enzyme is able to process plastic in a matter of days, the Guardian reports.

plastic bottles


by Futures Centre Spotted 1994 signals

Have you spotted a signal of change?

Register to receive the latest from the Futures Centre.
Sign up

  • 0
  • Share

Related signals

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work, please see our 'Cookies page'.