Scientists and researchers at Britain’s University of Portsmouth and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory accidentally developed a plastic eating enzyme when they were examining the structure of a natural enzyme found in a waste recycling center in Japan.
When they were studying the structure they engineered an enzyme that did an even better job at breaking down polyethylene terephthalate, PET plastics, and degrading polyethylene furandicarboxylate, PEF which is a replacement for glass bottles. With this new development could be a solution to the plastic problem that has become increasingly worse.
The researchers who engineered this enzyme are working to improve it even more to allow it to be used industrially in order to break down plastics. If it is used industrially it will cut down on the amount of time it takes to break down plastics immensely therefore allowing the industries to break down more plastic.
Many think since scientists are the ones who engineered plastics, they have an obligation to help decrease the plastic pollution. The new enzyme is still very new to the researchers but it could play a huge part in lessening the damage that the pollution of plastic has done to the oceans. Hopefully with this enzyme the islands of garbage that are in the oceans will decrease in size and the industries can better deal with all of the plastic waste.