"Super Enzyme" Created to Eat Plastics Six Times Faster Than Normal Enzymes

Enzymes are produced in certain bacteria, and now, they could be saving the planet. English scientists have crafted a super enzyme that can destroy a plastic in a matter of a few hours rather than the previously established weeks or months. The plastic polymers would typically be slow to depolymerize, but the super enzyme can break down these at triple the speed. This is a huge step toward a better, safer planet free from plastic waste. 

Professor John McGeehan from the Center for Enzyme Innovation at the University of Portsmouth created a superior enzyme in 2018. Completely by mistake, he was able to speed up the depolymerization process. It wasn't until this year that that process was improved upon though, in April of this year from the University of Toulouse. In only about 10 hours, after being heated to 70°C (158°F), the enzyme extracted from composting leaves changed everything. 

"It took a great deal of work on both sides of the Atlantic, but it was worth the effort," said John McGeehan, "We were delighted to see that our new chimeric enzyme is up to three times faster than the naturally evolved separate enzymes, opening new avenues for further improvements." The future could be looking a lot greener...

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