A general route to retooling hydrolytic enzymes toward plastic degradation

Susana M. Meza Huaman, Jake H. Nicholson, Alex P.S. Brogan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The accumulation of plastic waste in the environment is an ecological disaster that requires a plurality of approaches to tackle. There is therefore an ever-pressing need to close the loop on production of both conventional and bioderived plastics. In response, we propose a generalizable biocatalysis engineering strategy to enhance the use of enzymes to depolymerize a broad class of plastics. To demonstrate this approach, we have solubilized and stabilized the commonly available lipase B from Candida antarctica in ionic liquids. In doing so, we unlock the ability of the enzyme to hydrolytically depolymerize post-consumer poly(lactic acid) plastic, demonstrating full degradation within 24 h and full conversion to monomer within 40 h at 90°C. This facile and scalable modification strategy allows for elevated operation temperatures in combination with the superior solvent capabilities of ionic liquids, providing a blueprint for enhancing the capability of any hydrolytic enzyme for plastic recycling.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101783
JournalCell Reports Physical Science
Volume5
Issue number2
Early online date29 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2024

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