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Microbial Genes for a Circular and Sustainable Bio-PET Economy

Salvador, Manuel, Abdulmutalib, Umar, Gonzalez, Jaime, Kim, Juhyun, Smith, Alex A., Faulon, Jean-Loup, Wei, Ren, Zimmermann, Wolfgang and Jimenez, Jose (2019) Microbial Genes for a Circular and Sustainable Bio-PET Economy Genes, 10 (5).

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Plastics have become an important environmental concern due to their durability and resistance to degradation. Out of all plastic materials, polyesters such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are amenable to biological degradation due to the action of microbial polyester hydrolases. The hydrolysis products obtained from PET can thereby be used for the synthesis of novel PET as well as become a potential carbon source for microorganisms. In addition, microorganisms and biomass can be used for the synthesis of the constituent monomers of PET from renewable sources. The combination of both biodegradation and biosynthesis would enable a completely circular bio-PET economy beyond the conventional recycling processes. Circular strategies like this could contribute to significantly decreasing the environmental impact of our dependence on this polymer. Here we review the efforts made towards turning PET into a viable feedstock for microbial transformations. We highlight current bottlenecks in degradation of the polymer and metabolism of the monomers, and we showcase fully biological or semisynthetic processes leading to the synthesis of PET from sustainable substrates.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine
Authors :
Salvador, Manuel
Abdulmutalib, Umar
Gonzalez, Jaime
Kim, Juhyun
Smith, Alex A.
Faulon, Jean-Loup
Wei, Ren
Zimmermann, Wolfgang
Date : 16 May 2019
Funders : European Union's Horizon 2020, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
DOI : 10.3390/genes10050373
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Uncontrolled Keywords : Plastics; Biodegradation; Sustainability; Upcycling; Biotransformations; Polyethylene terephthalate; Terephthalate; Ethylene glycol
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 23 May 2019 09:29
Last Modified : 23 May 2019 09:29

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