Team:University College London/Module 3


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Module 3: Degradation


As an alternative to Island Formation Modules (Modules 1 and 2), we are also developing an alternative solution – Degradation of plastic. This will focus on Polyethylene degradation, for which numerous bacteria and fungi are capable of degrading. Certain Multi-copper enzymes have been found to degrade Polyethylene and Polypropylene, and we are looking in particular at an enzyme called laccase has been found to degrade Polyethylene in a number of bacteria and fungi. The laccase system (BBa_K729002) will be driven by a strong constitutive promoter (BBa_J23119) which initiates the extracellular release of the laccase enzyme. Laccases in fact exhibit an ‘extraordinary’ range of substrates. It has conserved copper binding site that couple the ‘four oxidation reactions of a reducing susbtrate to the cleavage of a dioxygen bond.’ This series of oxidation reactions can be used for plastic degradation.