Scientists Have Accidentally Created a Mutant Enzyme That Eats Plastic Waste

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Back in 2016 microbes that had evolved to eat plastic were discovered living in the soil of a plastic recycling plant in Japan. While scientists examined these bacteria they created an enzyme that is even more successful at breaking down plastic, than the original microbe, offering hope of a new way to reduce plastic waste.

“Serendipity often plays a significant role in fundamental scientific research and our discovery here is no exception,” says structural biologist John McGeehan from the University of Portsmouth in the UK.

“This unanticipated discovery suggests that there is room to further improve these enzymes, moving us closer to a recycling solution for the ever-growing mountain of discarded plastics.”

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