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

Dong Hyeok Hwang, Myeong Eun Lee, Byeong Hyeon Cho, Jun Won Oh, Seung Kyou You, Young Jin Ko, Jeong Eun Hyeon, Sung Ok Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156890
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct 10

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government ( MSIT ) (No. 2020M1A2A2080850 ) and an OJERI ( OJeong Eco-Resilience Institute ), Korea University Grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Binding affinity
  • Carboxylic ester hydrolases complex
  • Enzyme stability
  • Sequential degradation
  • Waste poly (ethylene terephthalate)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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