July 1, 2022


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Plastic.  A new discovery by scientists.  Plastic can degrade in record time

Plastic. A new discovery by scientists. Plastic can degrade in record time

In nature, enzymes are for example used to break down parts of plants by bacteria. In 2012, Japan discovered that it can also degrade PET. This year only in the Leipzig region Cemetery Südfriedhof, scientists from the local university have found an enzyme that breaks down PET in the lab at a record rate.

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Plastic. Scientists have discovered an enzyme that breaks down plastic

scientists z Institute of Analytical Chemistry It found and tested seven different enzymes. They added PET to the containers with the solution and measured the amount of plastic that deteriorated over time and compared the values ​​with each other. The last sample, called PHL7, had the best result. Within 16 hours, PHL7 hydrolyzed PET by 90%.

“The enzyme we produce is twice as active as the gold standard for polyester degrading hydrolysates,” Sonnendecker explained.

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Plastic. How do enzymes break down plastic?

This efficacy is due to the fact that the previously known degrading polyester hydrolysate contains a phenylalanine residue, and PHL7 contains leucine. In practice, this means that plastic mesh – The kind used to sell grapes in the supermarket – The enzyme degrades in less than 24 hours. Compared with refractory feedstocks usually used in recycling, when plastics are burned at high temperatures, this decomposition process can be much more. environmental.

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enzymes requires that work Only aquatic environment and temperatures from 65 to 70 degrees Celsius. They break down PET into its components of terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol, which can then be reused in production. the new PET – This is how a closed cycle is created. However, this method has only been tested in a pilot plant in France.

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Plastic. Newly discovered enzyme and environmental recycling

– outdoors in Leipzig The enzyme can make an important contribution to the development of alternative energy-saving recycling processes from synthetic materials. The biocatalyst, which is currently being developed in Leipzig, is highly effective in rapidly degrading used PET food packaging and suitable for use in an eco-friendly recycling process where new plastics can be produced from decomposition products, says Professor Wolfgang Zimmermann, who played a key role in initiating the research. About enzyme technologies at the University of Leipzig.

Scientists from Leipzig hope that the newly discovered enzyme PHL7 will contribute to the development of biological recycling in practice and are looking for industrial partners to this end. They say he can drop it Costs Recycling They announced that they would present an accurate prototype in 2-3 years that would assume the exact economic benefits of the new process.