From data-driven novel enzyme discovery towards enzyme combinations for plastic degradation (PlastZyme)
Research Project, 2023 – 2025

Petroleum-based plastics are widely used across the whole world and catastrophically polluting the environment ,which however are known as non-biodegradable. Still, there are some microorganisms found to degrade them, but very slowly.
The development of efficient enzymes could be able to close the loop for the circular economy of plastics. Here we propose a multidisciplinary project by unravelling enzymes for 6 common petroleum-based plastics (PET, PU, PP, PVC, PS, PE) from metagenomics of real samples in Indian plastic polluted hotspots and open source databases by machine learning models. Over 1 millions of candidates are expected to be found and >40,000 of them will go through a novel high throughput screening platform, which will be developed for low-cost gene synthesis and fast screening on plastic degradation in emulsions. we will develop a PlastDB - the most extensive public data resource with hundreds of thousands of experimentally validated plastic degrading enzymes.  Furthermore, the identified enzymes will undergo directed evolution for at least 10 fold of efficiency improvement, demonstrating the usability of our pipeline. Multiple protein recombination solutions will be developed based on those promising ones with recombinant protein technology and tested in scale-up bioreactors for versatile plastic mixture degradation. In the end, Super enzyme - PlastZyme will be evaluated and compared with traditional methods for real sample degradation in practice.


Aleksej Zelezniak (contact)

Chalmers, Life Sciences, Systems and Synthetic Biology



Project ID: 2022-02316
Funding Chalmers participation during 2023–2025

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