Our P4SB Partner ULEI has recently published the new article "Fast turbidimetric assay for analyzing the enzymatic hydrolysis of polyethylene terephthalate model substrates". It was written by Matheus Regis Belisário‐Ferrari, Ren Wei, Tobias Schneider, Annett Honak, and Wolfgang Zimmermann and first published on 15th of November 2018 in the Biotechnology Journal. Congtratulations to all involved!
Synthetic plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can be cooperatively degraded by microbial polyester hydrolases and carboxylesterases, with the latter hydrolyzing the low‐molecular‐weight degradation intermediates. For the identification of PET‐degrading enzymes, efficient and rapid screening assays are required. Here we report a novel turbidimetric method in a microplate format for the fast screening of enzyme activities against the PET model substrates with two ester bonds bis‐(2‐Hydroxyethyl) terephthalate (BHET) and ethylene glycol bis‐(p‐methylbenzoate) (2PET). The carboxylesterase TfCa from Thermobifida fusca KW3 was used for validating the method. High correlation and regression coefficients between the experimental and fitted data confirmed the accuracy and reproducibility of the method and its feasibility for analyzing the kinetics of the enzymatic hydrolysis of the PET model substrates. A comparison of the hydrolysis of BHET and 2PET by TfCa using a kinetic model for heterogeneous catalysis indicated that the enzyme preferentially hydrolyzed the less bulky molecule BHET. The high‐throughput assay will facilitate the detection of novel enzymes for the biocatalytic modification or degradation of PET.
"Biodegradable Plastic Blends Create New Possibilities for End-of-Life Management of Plastics but They Are Not a Panacea for Plastic Pollution" was written by Tanja Narancic, Steven Verstichel, Srinivasa Reddy Chaganti, Laura Morales-Gamez, Shane T. Kenny, Bruno De Wilde, Ramesh Babu Padamati, and Kevin E. O’Connor. It was first published in Environmental Science & Technology 2018 52 (18) on 29th of August 2018. Congratulations to all involved!
Plastic waste pollution is a global environmental problem which could be addressed by biodegradable plastics. The latter are blended together to achieve commercially functional properties, but the environmental fate of these blends is unknown. We have tested neat polymers, polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxybutyrate, polyhydroxyoctanoate, poly(butylene succinate), thermoplastic starch, polycaprolactone (PCL), and blends thereof for biodegradation across seven managed and unmanaged environments. PLA is one of the world’s best-selling biodegradable plastics, but it is not home compostable. We show here that PLA when blended with PCL becomes home compostable. We also demonstrate that the majority of the tested bioplastics and their blends degrade by thermophilic anaerobic digestion with high biogas output, but degradation times are 3–6 times longer than the retention times in commercial plants. While some polymers and their blends showed good biodegradation in soil and water, the majority of polymers and their blends tested in this study failed to achieve ISO and ASTM biodegradation standards, and some failed to show any biodegradation. Thus, biodegradable plastic blends need careful postconsumer management, and further design to allow more rapid biodegradation in multiple environments is needed as their release into the environment can cause plastic Pollution.
RWTH's University newspaper, RWTH insight, has run an item about the P4SB Project in their most recent issue. The article was written by Celina Begolli, and appeared in the third issue of RWTH insight to be published in 2018.
At this year's International Symposium on Biopolymers (ISBP) P4SB's very own Maria-Tsampika Manoli gave a talk on "Systems Analysis and Synthetic Tuning of the PHA Cycle in Pseudomonas putida KT2440". The ISBP 2018 was held in Bejing, China, and took place from 21st to 24th of October 2018.
Want to know more about the ISBP 2018? Take a look at their Webpage!
The BBC recently publised a highly informative new article about a campaign started by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation with the Goal to reduce and ultimately eliminate plastic waste. Due to this campaign, many big companies and other organizations have now signed a pledge to eliminate plastic waste by 2025.
Curious? The full article, which was first published by the BBC on 29th of October 2018, can be found on the BBC Website!
This year's International Symposium on Biopolymers, ISBP2018 for short, took place on October 21st to 24th in Bejing, China. P4SB's Auxiliadora Prieto appeared at this event as an invited lecturer, giving a talk about the P4SB project. Congrats!
Curious? Find out more about the ISBP2018 on their website!
The popular science journal "Hörzu Wissen" recently published a very interesting article about the "little helpers in the battle against plastic". It offers a well-researched window in current approaches the the issues of plastic waste, and also includes an interview with P4SB's very own Professor Blank!
The article was written by Manuel Opitz and was published in the fifth Hörzu Wissen issue of 2018.
Alexander P. S. Darlington, Juhyun Kim, José I. Jiménez, and Declan G. Bates recently published the new P4SB-related article "Engineering Translational Resource Allocation Controllers: Mechanistic Models, Design Guidelines, and Potential Biological Implementations". It was first published on October 15, 2018 in ACS Synthetic Biology. ACS Synthetic Biology is published by the American Chemical Society, and available via their webpage.
P4SB's Professor Lars Blank has recenly presented the project at the Green Growth Symposium in Awaji, Japan, on 10th and 11th of September 2018. The JSPS Japanese-German Graduate Externship International Symposium "Biotechnology and Chemistry for Green Growth" was part of the Japanese-German Graduate Externship Program.