Plastic can now be decomposed in a matter of hours! That's the news. Scientists should be thanked. They developed an enzyme that can decompose PET plastic in 10 hours.
If you do not know the word "enzyme" and “PET plastic ”, do not be afraid, I will explain now. Enzymes are a kind of "natural accelerators" of a certain process (or rather chemical reactions). Well, imagine a lazy student who has been given a lot of homework. There are two options: he will do it himself, but for a very long time OR mom / dad / grandma will come and how to push the little one. As you know, when a person appears, the "accelerator" process will be much faster. The enzyme is the same accelerator in the world of chemical reactions.
PET - polyethylene terephthalate. A long word that should not be memorized. The only thing you need to know is that this type of plastic is often used to make plastic bottles. Exactly the same water and bottles of carbonated drinks. 20% plastic around the world is PET plastic.
Let's get back to the hot news. French scientists have become interested in a bacterial enzyme that can break down plastic. They started researching, improving this enzyme and brought it to an incredible result. From a ton of PET plastic (1000 kg) this method can decompose 900 kg! This enzyme is called cutinase, and its modified version set a new record. Just imagine, from those 900 kg of recycled plastic made new bottles, which were no worse than usual. Greta Thunberg will be delighted!
The company that made this breakthrough made a rather loud statement: to launch such bioprocessing by 2025. Interestingly, the partners of this company are Pepsi and L'Oréal. Who knows, maybe in a few years we will be able to buy Pepsi bottles made of recycled plastic and thus not harm the planet or ourselves!
Original article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2149-4