New Publication by Project Partner ULEI!

by Ziela Shatwany

Our P4SB Partner ULEI has recently published the new article "Fast turbidimetric assay for analyzing the enzymatic hydrolysis of polyethylene terephthalate model substrates". It was written by Matheus Regis Belisário‐Ferrari, Ren Wei, Tobias Schneider, Annett Honak, and Wolfgang Zimmermann and first published on 15th of November 2018 in the Biotechnology Journal. Congtratulations to all involved!


Synthetic plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can be cooperatively degraded by microbial polyester hydrolases and carboxylesterases, with the latter hydrolyzing the low‐molecular‐weight degradation intermediates. For the identification of PET‐degrading enzymes, efficient and rapid screening assays are required. Here we report a novel turbidimetric method in a microplate format for the fast screening of enzyme activities against the PET model substrates with two ester bonds bis‐(2‐Hydroxyethyl) terephthalate (BHET) and ethylene glycol bis‐(p‐methylbenzoate) (2PET). The carboxylesterase TfCa from Thermobifida fusca KW3 was used for validating the method. High correlation and regression coefficients between the experimental and fitted data confirmed the accuracy and reproducibility of the method and its feasibility for analyzing the kinetics of the enzymatic hydrolysis of the PET model substrates. A comparison of the hydrolysis of BHET and 2PET by TfCa using a kinetic model for heterogeneous catalysis indicated that the enzyme preferentially hydrolyzed the less bulky molecule BHET. The high‐throughput assay will facilitate the detection of novel enzymes for the biocatalytic modification or degradation of PET.

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