Creating plastic-eating enzymes that could save us from pollution

Researchers are on a quest to develop enzymes that may break down plastics to allow them to be 100% recycled

The world produces about 400 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. A lot of it leads to landfills, and a good portion is polluting the world’s oceans. But even when plastic is recycled, the method degrades the fabric, limiting its future recyclability.

Whereas we will try to cut back our dependence on plastic, industries like meals and medication can’t merely exchange it. So scientists John McGeehan, Rosie Graham, and their colleagues on the Centre for Enzyme Innovation on the College of Portsmouth, are growing a special resolution: a totally round plastic economic system. The thought is to make use of enzymes to interrupt down plastic polymers in order that they are often 100% recycled again to their preliminary state – and even upcycling degraded materials again to the standard of virgin plastic. 

Within the video above, John and Rosie clarify how an opportunity e mail to the AlphaFold crew has accelerated their work.

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