BRITISH and American researchers made a discovery by chance during their work when they discovered an enzyme thought to be a remedy against the rapidly increasing plastic problem.
The research conducted by Portsmouth University in the UK and the American National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed an enzyme that feeds on plastic wastes.
The enzyme was synthesized by chance in the 1940s as a result of studies on plastic eaten bacteria discovered by Japanese researchers.
This bacterium, known as ‘Ideonella sakaiensis’, is known to be fed with polyethylene terephthalate, known as PET.
When the enzyme bacteriin PETAZ is exposed to 10 billion times brighter super-strong X-ray radiation than sunlight, an enzyme that consumes not only PET but all plastic types has emerged.
Researchers say this new enzyme could be used against plastic wastes, one of the biggest problems of environmental pollution.
Every year alone, more than 8 million tons of plastic are being thrown into the ocean. It is feared that plastics, an oil-based product, will make the oceans useless over time.