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March 14, 2016 | PET-consuming bacteria

Researches from the Kyoto Institute of Technology in Japan isolated a novel bacterium that is enjoying PET as its major energy and carbon source. Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 uses two enzymes to break down the PET efficiently into its two environmentally benign monomers, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol.

The species has been isolated from outside a bottle-recycling facility and, during tests over the course of six weeks, were able to break down a thin film of low-grade PET. The findings could offer new ways in recycling PET and speeding up decomposition.

The results have been published in Science.

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