Discovery of bacterium that degrades PET plastic

Scientists discovered bacterium that degrades PET. Image provided by Kyoto Institute of Technology Professor Emeritus Kohei OdaA group of researchers from Keio University and the Kyoto Institute of Technology discovered a bacterium that degrades and assimilates PET. The research was conducted in a collaborative project with Teijin Limited and Adeka Corporation.

PET is used extensively throughout the world, and is especially popular in plastic bottles and clothing. A large quantity of PET products end up in landfills, without entering a recycling process. The material was believed to be resistant to microbial degradation. However, the present research overturns certain aspects of this theory. The findings are expected to contribute to the development of bio-recycling technology of PET waste products.

Researchers involved in the project include Shosuke Yoshida, assistant professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology at Keio University and a researcher for the Erato Akiyoshi bio-nanotransporter project at the Graduate School of Engineering at Kyoto University; Associate Professor Kenji Miyamoto from Keio University; Professor Emeritus Kohei Oda from Kyoto Institute of Technology; and Professor Emeritus Yoshiharu Kimura.

The results were published in the American journal, Science, on 10 March 2016.

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