New research shows an enzyme could erase millions of tons of plastic bottles polluting the world.
While studying a 3D module of a newly discovered enzyme that eats plastic, U.K. scientists at the University of Portsmouth accidentally engineered an super enzyme that degrades plastic even better than the natural enzyme from a bacterium first discovered in Japan.
“We can all play a significant part in dealing with the plastic problem, but the scientific community who ultimately created these ‘wonder-materials’, must now use all the technology at their disposal to develop real solutions," Professor John McGeehan, who led the research, said in a press release.
The enzyme is able to "digest" polyethylene terephthalate or PET, the main ingredient in most plastic bottles, researchers said.
More research must be done to determine how the enzyme could impact the future of recycling and waste.
Humans buy a million plastic bottles every minute, according to a report last year by The Guardian. Environmental activists, such as Ban the Bottle, estimate Americans alone use about 50 billion plastic water bottles annually.
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