Characterization and optimization of novel plastic-degrading enzymes and microbes
The focus of Activity 2 is the optimization of enzymes through directed evolution to improve catalytic efficiency, stabilities, and specificity through using semi-rational enzyme engineering and directed evolution to optimize the activities of additional enzymes that degrade or modify PET, PA, PE or PS at industrially-viable rates of depolymerization. This activity will build on our existing PETase collection and the novel enzymes identified in Activity 1. The semi-rational and directed evolution-based approaches will benefit from parallel efforts to characterize the structure and catalytic mechanism of these enzymes. In addition, we will use lab-based, cutting-edge methods to select microbes with improved biotechnological properties. We will use this approach to evolve more efficient plastic degradation by the microbes identified in Activity 1. This work will be conducted within three specific project areas, information to come soon.