DOI: 10.1126/science.aad6359 ISSN:

A bacterium that degrades and assimilates poly(ethylene terephthalate)

Shosuke Yoshida, Kazumi Hiraga, Toshihiko Takehana, Ikuo Taniguchi, Hironao Yamaji, Yasuhito Maeda, Kiyotsuna Toyohara, Kenji Miyamoto, Yoshiharu Kimura, Kohei Oda
  • Multidisciplinary

Some bacteria think plastic is fantastic

Bacteria isolated from outside a bottle-recycling facility can break down and metabolize plastic. The proliferation of plastics in consumer products, from bottles to clothing, has resulted in the release of countless tons of plastics into the environment. Yoshida et al. show how the biodegradation of plastics by specialized bacteria could be a viable bioremediation strategy (see the Perspective by Bornscheuer). The new species, Ideonella sakaiensis , breaks down the plastic by using two enzymes to hydrolyze PET and a primary reaction intermediate, eventually yielding basic building blocks for growth.

Science , this issue p. 1196 ; see also p. 1154

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