Please check our recent review article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (IF 5.924), presenting a detailed atomic-level perspective on the current alternatives for enzymatic biocatalysis for the degradation of plastic PET.
Perspectives on the role of enzymatic biocatalysis for the degradation of plastic PET
Magalhaes R.P., Cunha J.M., and Sousa S.F.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22 (20) (2021)
Plastics are highly durable and widely used materials. Current methodologies of plastic degradation, elimination, and recycling are flawed. In recent years, biodegradation (the usage of microorganisms for material recycling) has grown as a valid alternative to previously used methods. The evolution of bioengineering techniques and the discovery of novel microorganisms and enzymes with degradation ability have been key. One of the most produced plastics is PET, a long chain polymer of terephthalic acid (TPA) and ethylene glycol (EG) repeating monomers. Many enzymes with PET degradation activity have been discovered, characterized, and engineered in the last few years. However, classification and integrated knowledge of these enzymes are not trivial. Therefore, in this work we present a summary of currently known PET degrading enzymes, focusing on their structural and activity characteristics, and summarizing engineering efforts to improve activity. Although several high potential enzymes have been discovered, further efforts to improve activity and thermal stability are necessary.