Plastic Waste – Bacterial Decomposition of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Studied    

The abstract of a March 21, 2022 Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences article by researchers with US Montana State University and UK University of Portsmouth report that “… Several bacteria possess components of catabolic pathways for the synthetic polyester poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET). These proceed by hydrolyzing the ester linkages of the polymer to its monomers, ethylene glycol and terephthalate (TPA) … These pathways are crucial for genetically engineering microbes for PET upcycling, prompting interest in their fundamental biochemical and structural elucidation. Terephthalate dioxygenase (TPADO) and its cognate reductase make up a complex multimetalloenzyme system that dihydroxylates TPA, activating it for enzymatic decarboxylation to yield protocatechuic acid (PCA) … Future efforts to identify, evolve, or engineer TPADO variants with desirable properties will be enabled by the results described here …” #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic @PNASNews @montanastate @portsmouthuni