What if plastic could cure people?
Today, scientists are looking for new ways to synthesize drugs. As one of the major pollutants, plastic waste is a growing resource with 25 million tons produced in 2014, in Europe alone. Because of their composition, plastics have a very slow degradation rate and produce persistent organic pollutants. This leads to an increase of plastic pollution and an accumulation of plastic microparticles in our ecosystem, especially in the oceans. PlastiCure is a biological system designed in E. coli to degrade polyethylene terephthalate and use the degradation products to synthesize a commonly used antibiotic: Erythromycin A. For this, exogenous DNA sequences are integrated in multiple operons to express the biodegradation pathway (22kb) and the biosynthesis pathway (55kb). PlastiCure is a very innovative project to address an environmental issue, plastic pollution, by degrading plastic into a profitable transformation product and thus increase efforts in plastic recycling.