Enhanced biodegradation of waste poly(ethylene terephthalate) using a reinforced plastic degrading enzyme complex

Sci Total Environ. 2022 Oct 10;842:156890. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.156890. Epub 2022 Jun 24.


Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) is synthesized via a rich ester bond between terephthalate (TPA) and ethylene glycol (EG). Because of this, PET degradation takes a long time and PET accumulates in the environment. Many studies have been conducted to improve PET degrading enzyme to increase the efficiency of PET depolymerization. However, enzymatic PET decomposition is still restricted, making upcycling and recycling difficult. Here, we report a novel PET degrading complex composed of Ideonella sakaiensis PETase and Candida antarctica lipase B (CALB) that improves degradability, binding ability and enzyme stability. The reaction mechanism of chimeric PETase (cPETase) and chimeric CALB (cCALB) was confirmed by PET and bis (2-hydroxyethyl terephthalate) (BHET). cPETase generated BHET and mono (2-hydroxyethyl terephthalate (MHET) and cCALB produced terephthalate (TPA). Carbohydrate binding module 3 (CBM3) in the scaffolding protein greatly improved PET film binding affinity. Finally, the final enzyme complex demonstrated a 6.5-fold and 8.0-fold increase in the efficiency of hydrolysis from PET with either high crystalline or waste to TPA than single enzymes, respectively. This complex could effectively break down waste PET while maintaining enzyme stability and would be applied for biological upcycling of TPA.

Keywords: Binding affinity; Carboxylic ester hydrolases complex; Enzyme stability; Sequential degradation; Waste poly (ethylene terephthalate).

MeSH terms

  • Ethylenes
  • Phthalic Acids* / metabolism
  • Plastics / metabolism
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates* / chemistry


  • Ethylenes
  • Phthalic Acids
  • Plastics
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates
  • terephthalic acid