Green Plastic Recycling with Biocatalysis

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Zimmermann Dept. of Microbiology and Bioprocess Technology, Institute of Biochemistry, Leipzig University

The enzymatic degradation of post-consumer plastic waste is emerging as a novel and environmental benign and sustainable alternative to conventional recycling processes. Recently, it has been shown that synthetic polyesters such as PET can be completely hydrolysed by microbial enzymes at mild reaction conditions in aqueous media within short reaction times. The resulting monomers can be recovered and reused. By the generation of more powerful biocatalysts employing protein engineering techniques and an optimization of the bioprocess parameters, biocatalytic recycling of PET can be further developed towards an industrial application.