May 2019

Oceans are a reservoir for exponentially increasing amounts of plastic waste

Significant plastic accumulation on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Australia

Lavers et al reports more than 200 tonnes of plastic on the beaches of an uninhabited island: Again, as in many cases, the very well floatable bottles, tooth brushes and the infamous flipsflops are among the most often mentioned plastic items. On the photos fishery equipment is visible, as so often encountered.

Interview with the head of the RWTH Institute for applied microbiology (iAMB)

The positive side-effect of bacteria

Prof. Lars Blank, coordinator of the EU-project P4SB, gave a talk about Pseudomonas putida bacteria and their capability to produce microplastic from man-made plastics at the RWTH kids university - the children loved to hear his phantastic story about "Mirko". The full article in German can be found here.

New Study Paves Path for Synthesizing Enzymes for PET Recycling

Lot of Plastic Produced, Too Little Recycled

A research team from the University of Greifswald and Helmholtz-Zentrum-Berlin (HZB) has solved the molecular structure of the important enzyme MHETase at BESSY II. MHETase was discovered in bacteria and together with a second enzyme - PETase - is able to break down the widely used plastic PET into its basic building blocks. This 3D structure already allowed the researchers to produce a MHETase variant with optimized activity in order to use it, together with PETase, for a sustainable recycling of PET. The results have been published in the research journal Nature Communications. Click here for details!