Novel Mutant Enzyme to Degradation of Plastic

Digest 90% of Plastic within 10 Hours

Plastic is one of the serious pollutions around the world and it caused huge damage to the ecosystem especially in the marine species. Our daily use of plastic is mainly made of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), which is hard to degrade as the naturally decomposed of plastic bottle requires over 400 years. However, the demand for use of plastic is huge, there have about 70 million tons of plastic bottles produce annually and most of them are the disposal of the landfill or going to marine. Therefore, many countries are concerned the plastic pollution and engaging in some policies to deal with them.

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mutated bacterial enzyme

The French startup Carbios has developed a mutated bacterial enzyme that can be used to digest the old plastic bottles completely within 10 hours that created a revolution in the plastic life circle. The research found that the mutated bacterial enzyme is from the natural enzyme call Leaf-branch compost cutinase, which was first discovered in the leaf compost by the researchers at Osaka University in 2012.

The mutated bacterial enzyme can help to turn the plastic material into the chemical building blocks to make a new plastic that can be recycled completely with unlimited time. According to the research result, it found that the mutated bacterial enzyme breaks down a 200g of a plastic bottle, which was 90% degraded within 10 hours. Unlike the standard mechanical recycling, which ‘‘downcycles’’ plastic into lower-quality materials, the enzymatic process makes it possible to recycle a virgin plastic bottle into equal in quality.

We all know that reduction in plastic use was one part of solving the waste problem, but many industries like food, medical care, transportation which difficult to reduce the demand for plastic, in addition, plastic still brings a lot of value to society and very convenience to people that it is hard to replace them. Therefore, increasing the collection of plastic waste was key and also makes good use of plastic of end life. 

The finding has created a revolution of plastic recycle and it was a way to reduce plastic waste and a huge step forward. Technology improvement is a big step toward sustainability and contributes to the environment. Looking forward to the new environmental technology and materials come into being to solve the environmental issue and create a positive climate. In addition, applying this kind of technology with the large-scale operation to the product is quite important to the company that builds up its corporate social responsibility and makes a promise to the environment. How to deal with the product after its life cycle is a constant issue to the corporate, now one of the solutions is giving out by the scientist. However, reducing the source of waste is always being a key to solve the environmental problem. Do not only rely on environmental technology to solve all the environmental issues, and it may not work at all. Let’s try to reduce your daily use of plastic! Your contribution and effort are very important to the Earth.


Carrington, D. (2020). Scientists create mutant enzyme that recycles plastic bottles in hours. Retrieved from The Guardian, Web site:

Peters, A. (2020). This mutant enzyme eats old plastic and spits out the materials to make it new again. Retrieved from FastCompany, Web site:

Service, R. F. (2020). ‘A huge step forward.’ Mutant enzyme could vastly improve recycling of plastic bottles. Retrieved from Science, Web site: