Discovery and characterization of two novel polyethylene terephthalate hydrolases: One from a bacterium identified in human feces and one from the Streptomyces genus

J Hazard Mater. 2024 Jul 5:472:134532. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2024.134532. Epub 2024 May 6.


Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is widely used for various industrial applications. However, owing to its extremely slow breakdown rate, PET accumulates as plastic trash, which negatively affects the environment and human health. Here, we report two novel PET hydrolases: PpPETase from Pseudomonas paralcaligenes MRCP1333, identified in human feces, and ScPETase from Streptomyces calvus DSM 41452. These two enzymes can decompose various PET materials, including semicrystalline PET powders (Cry-PET) and low-crystallinity PET films (gf-PET). By structure-guided engineering, two variants, PpPETaseY239R/F244G/Y250G and ScPETaseA212C/T249C/N195H/N243K were obtained that decompose Cry-PET 3.1- and 1.9-fold faster than their wild-type enzymes, respectively. The co-expression of ScPETase and mono-(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate hydrolase from Ideonella sakaiensis (IsMHETase) resulted in 1.4-fold more degradation than the single enzyme system. This engineered strain degraded Cry-PET and gf-PET by more than 40% and 6%, respectively, after 30 d. The concentrations of terephthalic acid (TPA) in the Cry-PET and gf-PET degradation products were 37.7% and 25.6%, respectively. The discovery of these two novel PET hydrolases provides opportunities to create more powerful biocatalysts for PET biodegradation.

Keywords: PET hydrolase; Plastic degradation; Polyethylene terephthalate; Pseudomonas; Streptomyces.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Burkholderiales
  • Feces* / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrolases* / chemistry
  • Hydrolases* / genetics
  • Hydrolases* / metabolism
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates* / chemistry
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates* / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas / enzymology
  • Pseudomonas / genetics
  • Streptomyces* / enzymology
  • Streptomyces* / genetics


  • Polyethylene Terephthalates
  • Hydrolases
  • Bacterial Proteins

Supplementary concepts

  • Ideonella sakaiensis