Plastic degrading bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 identified

Plastic degrading bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 identified

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A team of Japanese researchers has successfully identified a bacterium species capable of breaking down plastic-poly(ethylene terephthalate) or PET.  The results were published in the journal Science.

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Discovery of Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6

  •  Shosuke Yoshida from the Department of Applied Biology, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Kyoto, Japan and his team collected 250 debris-contaminated samples from a PET bottle recycling site after which they looked for microorganisms that relied on PET film as a primary source of carbon for growth.
  • They identified a distinct microbial consortium that contained a mixture of bacteria species that degraded the PET film surface at 30°C; 75 per cent of the PET film surface was broken down into carbon dioxide at 28°C.
  • From the microbial consortium, the researchers isolated a unique bacterium “Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 “that could almost completely degrade a thin film of PET in a short span of six weeks at 30°C.
  • The bacterium uses two enzymes in sequence to break down the highly biodegradable-resistant polymer PET. First enzyme helps the bacterium to adhere to the PET and produce an intermediate substance through process of hydrolysis. The second enzyme then works with water and acts on this intermediate substance.