As part of the Glaukos project, Novozymes and Forschungszentrum Jülich will assess the potential for bio-recycling of the eco-polymers developed by B4Plastics.
To strengthen the collaboration and maximizing impact and knowledge sharing, PhD student Jan de Witt from Forschungszentrum Jülich joined Novozymes for a 3-month research project. During the research stay, work was initially focused on identifying relevant enzymatic functionality and diversity for targeted depolymerization of Glaukos eco-polymers and model polymers. Based on the experimental results, promising enzymes were selected for further optimization by protein engineering.
“Working at our industry partner Novozymes enabled me to get insights into the straight-forward approach of industrial research. I enjoyed researching in a modern infrastructure together with a great team of scientists that extended my scientific skills at various levels” – commented Jan de Witt.
The outcome of the research project indicates that it is possible to develop an enzymatic solution for bio-recycling of eco-polymers.
Further work will focus on deducing the substrate specificity and other enzymatic properties of the most promising enzymes. These efforts might enable the complete degradation of eco-polymers into their monomeric building blocks. Subsequent upcycling of the obtained monomers by engineered microorganisms of Forschungszentrum Jülich will result in sustainable end-of-solutions of the polymers.