Enzyme Discovery and Engineering for Sustainable Plastic Recycling

Baotong Zhu, Dong Wang, Na Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The drastically increasing amount of plastic waste is causing an environmental crisis that requires innovative technologies for recycling post-consumer plastics to achieve waste valorization while meeting environmental quality goals. Biocatalytic depolymerization mediated by enzymes has emerged as an efficient and sustainable alternative for plastic treatment and recycling. A variety of plastic-degrading enzymes have been discovered from microbial sources. Meanwhile, protein engineering has been exploited to modify and optimize plastic-degrading enzymes. This review highlights the recent trends and up-to-date advances in mining novel plastic-degrading enzymes through state-of-the-art omics-based techniques and improving the enzyme catalytic efficiency and stability via various protein engineering strategies. Future research prospects and challenges are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-37
Number of pages16
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • biocatalysis
  • omics-based techniques
  • plastic depolymerization
  • plastic-degrading enzymes
  • protein engineering
  • sustainable plastic recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering


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