Development of a Method to Dramatically Improve the Degradation Rate of the Poly(ethylene terephthalate) -Degrading Enzyme PETase ―Outcomes Leading to the Practical Application of Biorecycling Used PET Products―
December 19, 2018
A research group including Professor Kenji Miyamoto and Assistant Professor Norifumi Kawakami and Mr. Makoto Furukawa of Keio University and Professor Emeritus Kohei Oda of Kyoto Institute of Technology carried out research aimed for improving the activity of a poly(ethylene terephthalate)-degrading enzyme (PETase), which they were the first to discover. The group successfully improved the degradation rate by more than a 100-fold by simple addition of a small amount of surfactant.
Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) is used around the world as a material for plastic bottles, clothing, etc. Some PET products are being recycled, but there have been calls for a degradation technology with minimal environmental impact. The outcomes of this research can dramatically improve the PET degradation rate of the enzyme through a simple operation, which is anticipated to help realize the practical application of biorecycling technology for used PET products.
The findings of this research are published in the European scientific journal "ChemSusChem" and selected as the cover of the issue.