Direct fermentative conversion of poly(ethylene terephthalate) into poly(hydroxyalkanoate) by Ideonella sakaiensis

Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 7;11(1):19991. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99528-x.


Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) is a widely used plastic in bottles and fibers; its waste products pollute the environment owing to its remarkable durability. Recently, Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 was isolated as a unique bacterium that can degrade and assimilate PET, thus paving the way for the bioremediation and bioconversion of PET waste. We found that this strain harbors a poly(hydroxyalkanoate) (PHA) synthesis gene cluster, which is highly homologous with that of Cupriavidus necator, an efficient PHA producer. Cells grown on PET accumulated intracellular PHA at high levels. Collectively, our findings in this study demonstrate that I. sakaiensis can mediate the direct conversion of non-biodegradable PET into environment-friendly plastic, providing a new approach for PET recycling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't