Plastic degrading bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 isolated

Japanese researchers have successfully isolated a bacterium species Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 capable of breaking down plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polyester.

Their results were published in the journal Science.

Key facts

  • Ideonella sakaiensis relies on PET film as a primary source of carbon for growth. It is capable of completely degrading a thin film of PET in a short span of six weeks at 30°C.
  • The bacterium species uses two enzymes in sequence to break down the highly biodegradable-resistant polymer PET.
  • First enzyme helps the bacterium to adhere to the PET and produce an intermediate substance through process of hydrolysis.
  • The second enzyme then works with water and acts on this intermediate substance. It produces the 2 monomers ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid that are used for making PET through polymerisation.
  • Applications: The bacteria could potentially be used in industrial recycling processes without having any adverse impact on the environment. It can replace or augment the current mechanical recycling plastic process.



Categories: Science & Technology




  • Manash Gogoi

    Truly commendable..great this if chemist discover a gas which can combine or react with green house gases and form environment friendly gases..then it will be the ultimate discover for mankind

  • Sakaiensis

    let eat all plastic avaiable in the planet till it became to be a plage , then our civilizacion will be reborn.