Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Poly(lactide) from PolySciTech used as part of plastics enzymatic degradation research.

PolySciTech division of Akina, Inc (www.polyscitech.com) provides a wide array of research polymers including poly(lactide) with well controlled properties. Recently, researchers at University of Toronto utilized PLA from polyscitech as a test substrate for developing bacterially derived carboxyl esterases which catalyze the degradation of this polyester. This research holds promise for plastics recycling as a way of sustainable, environmental practices of the future. Read more: Hajighasemi, Mahbod, Boguslaw P. Nocek, Anatoli Tchigvintsev, Greg Brown, Robert Flick, Xiaohui Xu, Hong Cui et al. "Biochemical and structural insights into enzymatic depolymerization of polylactic acid and other polyesters by microbial carboxylesterases." Biomacromolecules (2016). http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.biomac.6b00223

“Abstract: Polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable polyester derived from renewable resources, which is a leading candidate for the replacement of traditional petroleum-based polymers. Since the global production of PLA is quickly growing, there is an urgent need for the development of efficient recycling technologies, which will produce lactic acid instead of CO2 as the final product. After screening 90 purified microbial α/β-hydrolases, we identified hydrolytic activity against emulsified PLA in two uncharacterized proteins, ABO2449 from Alcanivorax borkumensis and RPA1511 from Rhodopseudomonas palustris. Both enzymes were also active against emulsified polycaprolactone and other polyesters, as well as against soluble α-naphthyl and p-nitrophenyl monoesters. In addition, both ABO2449 and RPA1511 catalyzed complete or extensive hydrolysis of solid PLA with the production of lactic acid monomers, dimers, and larger oligomers as products. The crystal structure of RPA1511 was determined at 2.2 Å resolution and revealed a classical α/β-hydrolase fold with a wide-open active site containing a molecule of polyethylene glycol bound near the catalytic triad Ser114-His270-Asp242. Site-directed mutagenesis of both proteins demonstrated that the catalytic triad residues are important for the hydrolysis of both monoester and polyester substrates. We also identified several residues in RPA1511 (Gln172, Leu212, Met215, Trp218, and Leu220) and ABO2449 (Phe38 and Leu152), which were not essential for activity against soluble monoesters, but were found to be critical for the hydrolysis of PLA. Our results indicate that microbial carboxyl esterases can efficiently hydrolyze various polyesters making them attractive biocatalysts for plastics depolymerization and recycling."
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