In 10 seconds? PET-bottles, farewell? Researchers have developed a new enzyme engineering platform that could help solve the world’s plastic problem by using directed evolution, so that plastic-degrading enzymes can work better and the method can be scaled up.

Enzyme evolution? Yes! The idea is to adapt them to higher temperatures. Enzymes are biological catalysts that regulate the rates at which chemical reactions occur in a living organism without being altered. This makes them an attractive and environmentally friendly solution to the world’s plastic pollution problem, but they have certain limitations, like their inability to function at high temperatures. Researchers from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology have developed a new engineering platform that could help solve this problem by directing the evolution of these enzymes so that they can work in hot climates, such as those found in large-scale recycling processes.

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