AI-enhanced enzyme eats plastic bottles even faster

KATRINA KRÄMER for Chemistry World:

A team around Hal Alper from the University of Texas at Austin in the US has created a PETase that can degrade 51 different PET products, including whole plastic containers and bottles.

A neural network helped the team decide how to modify the protein scaffold. The algorithm was first trained on 19,000 proteins of similar size, though of very different functionalities. For each of PETase’s 290 amino acids, the program checked whether it fits well within its immediate structural environment compared with other proteins.

AI-engineered enzyme eats entire plastic containers

This is good news since apparently plastic is not really recyclable.

We’re going to have to innovate our way out of this climate mess, and AI will play a central role.