Microbial degradation of polyethylene terphthalate (PET): An outlook study
Jiby John Mathew, Alex Idicula Mathews, Sajeshkumar NK and Prem Jose Vazhacharickal
The bacteria, known as Ideonella sakaiensis, is capable of producing two enzymes known as PETase and MHETase. These enzymes can degrade PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) into ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. The genes that code for these two enzymes can be transferred to a much suitable host that has a high enough copy number that can produce the enzymes in economically viable amounts. The mass-produced enzymes can then be made to react with PET materials which will get converted to the by-products. Following this the products, ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid can then be separated. Each of the products can further be treated to convert them into energy sources that can be utilized by other microorganisms. The ethylene glycol is converted into formaldehyde which can be utilized by various methylotrophic bacteria. The terephthalic acid that is produced can be used by Arthrobacter sp. bacteria. Thus, helping us to achieve the complete biodegradation of PET plastic waste materials.