News — Biochemistry
Newly engineered enzyme can break down plastic to raw materials
Biochemistry Green Plastics Recycling Science
Enlarge (credit: Orange County NC ) Plastics have a lot of properties that have made them fixtures of modern societies. They can be molded into any shape we'd like, they're tough yet flexible, and they come in enough variations that we can tune the chemistry to suit different needs. The problem is that they're tough enough that they don't break down on their own, and incinerating them is relatively inefficient. As a result, they've collected in our environment as both bulk plastics and the seemingly omnipresent microplastic waste. For natural materials, breaking down isn't an issue, as microbes have evolved...