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Thanks To This Mutant Enzyme, We Might Be Able To Recycle Plastic At A Much Greater Efficiency

For years, plastic has been a thorn in our side. It is present in our lands, the ocean, and the air. 

Recycling plastic does not make much difference in the global scale of things, as only about 30% of plastic get turned into new plastic, and the recycled plastic is much weaker compared to an unrecycled one. But maybe this doesn’t have to be the case anymore. 

Now, researchers report they’ve engineered an enzyme that can convert 90% of that same plastic back to its pristine starting materials. Work is underway to scale up the technology and open a demonstration plant next year.
“This is a huge step forward,” says John McGeehan, who directs the center for enzyme innovation at the University of Portsmouth and who was not involved with the work.

More details about this fascinating enzyme over at Science Magazine.

(Image Credit: Hans/ Pixabay)

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