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The New Discovery Of An Enzyme To Tackle Plastic Pollution Is A Game Changer

Scientists believe that with the help of this enzyme, the plastic crisis can be overcome soon

Photo Credit : Reuters


Plastics usually take hundreds of years to degrade naturally, but scientists in Germany have now discovered a highly effective enzyme that breaks down plastic components in record time. In view of the serious situation of plastic pollution around the world, this discovery is being seen as a game changer.

The enzyme, called polyester hydrolase (PHL7), was recently found in a German cemetery absorbing manure. German scientists found that the newly discovered PHL7 is at least two times faster than LLC. The results regarding this have now been published in the scientific journal 'CamsusChem'.

Microbiologist Wolfgang Zimmermann of Leipzig University in Germany said that this enzyme is capable of decomposing up to 90 per cent of polyethylene terephthalate in less than 16 hours. It can make a significant contribution to establishing alternative energy-saving plastic recycling processes.

In addition, the scientists found that PHL7 does not require any pre-treatment to decompose the plastic. It can eat plastic without grinding or melting it. Thus, a sustainable recycling process of an important PET plastic can be adopted, without the use of low carbon and petrochemicals from powerful enzymes such as PHL7.

In such a situation, scientists believe that with the help of this enzyme, the plastic crisis can be overcome soon. Until now, recycling used to be the only way to eliminate plastic. However, due to this, only 10 per cent of the plastic waste could be recycled.

(Inputs from Agencies)

Tags assigned to this article:
German Scientists Plastic Pollution