Plastic is a very useful material. However, plastic pollution has world-wide effects on our environment. At the same time, only 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled. We need to develop better techniques for recycling and upcycling plastic in order to reverse the effects that plastic pollution has caused our environment.
To combat plastic pollution, we decided to focus on degradation of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics since it is one of the most abundant types of plastic, has the largest number of characterized enzymes that can act on it, and its degradation is arguably the best studied of all the synthetic polymers. Our overarching goal was to build upon previous work surrounding plastic degradation, membrane transport and bacterial upcycling to develop an E. coli strain whole cell catalyst system with a fully integrated metabolic pathway that could degrade PET plastics and further turn them into the chemical protocatechuic acid (PCA).
Since a picture says more than a thousand words, our project promotion video - that explains our project, goals and hopes - says more than ~2 975 000 words.
How efficient right? So go ahead and have a look!
And you can find the Swedish, Chinese, Spanish, German, Czech and Icelandic versions of the video here!.