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Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles | Environment | The Guardian
The breakthrough, spurred by the discovery of plastic-eating bugs at a Japanese dump, could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis
Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.
The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug.
The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles. “What actually turned out was we improved the enzyme, which was a bit of a shock,” said Prof John McGeehan, at the University of Portsmouth, UK, who led the research. “It’s great and a real finding.”
science  environment 
4 hours ago by rgl7194
Mas Subramanian's Quest for a Billion-Dollar Red
He invented a new blue, and he's trying to invent a new red. Apparently that's a big deal.
color  science  materialsscience  invention  chemistry  via:HackerNews 
12 hours ago by mcherm
The Race to Find the Next Pandemic—Before It Finds Us | WIRED
When piglets began dying on farms in southern China in late October 2016, their owners thought they knew what was going on.
health  science 
12 hours ago by jeffhammond

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