Researchers "accidentally" engineered a natural enzyme found in a Japanese waste recycling plant to eat plastic waste. According to the scientists from the UK's University of Portsmouth and the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the enzyme, Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6, degrades polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the material used to make plastic bottles and other crap. The photo above is an electron microscope image of the enzyme degrading PET plastic.
"We hoped to determine (the enzyme's) structure to aid in protein engineering, but we ended up going a step further and accidentally engineered an enzyme with improved performance at breaking down these plastics," NREL's lead researcher Gregg Beckham told CNN. From the University of Portsmouth:
“Serendipity often plays a significant role in fundamental scientific research and our discovery here is no exception,” Professor McGeehan said.
“Although the improvement is modest, this unanticipated discovery suggests that there is room to further improve these enzymes, moving us closer to a recycling solution for the ever-growing mountain of discarded plastics.”
"Engineering a plastic-eating enzyme" (UOP)
Lots of folks celebrate Christmas by stashing their presents under the same reusable plastic and aluminum wire Christmas tree every winter: it’s a thoughtful, cost-efficient way to cut down on the amount of post holiday garbage that winds up in wood chippers or the local dump every year. However, a lot of people still like […]
As we know, the absurdly long CVS receipts are due to the rise of data mining and target marketing. A fellow from Lakewood, Ohio recently Tweeted his ingenious upcycling of one of those ridiculous receipts. From News 5 Cleveland: Andrew said he got the idea quite on accident – he bought a few items (less […]
This video accompanies National Geographic’s terrific reporting on the global plastic waste crisis. it shows how America became a plastic-addicted throwaway culture, and how the earth is now paying for humanity’s short-sighted sin.
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Seems like drones are doing a lot of jobs these days, from reconnaissance to delivery. Now, we can add “keeping the Death Star safe” to that list. Whether you’re a drone enthusiast or a Star Wars fan, these Star Wars Propel Drones are undeniably the coolest toy around. Yes, that’s a fully functional drone replica […]
It’s spring clearance time for the Boing Boing Store, when some of the best deals from the holidays return even cheaper than before. From top-rated apps to educational software to the cutest record player of all time, they’re all back with a little extra incentive. Shop your heart out before tax season wraps up! Use […]