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Article

Impact of Enzymatic Degradation on the Material Properties of Poly(Ethylene Terephthalate)

1
Department of Polymer Engineering, University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstraße 30, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
2
Department of Biochemistry, University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstraße 30, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
3
Department of Physical Chemistry II, University of Bayreuth, Universitätstraße 30, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Andrea Sorrentino
Polymers 2021, 13(22), 3885; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13223885
Received: 23 September 2021 / Revised: 5 November 2021 / Accepted: 8 November 2021 / Published: 10 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Circular and Green Polymer Science)
With macroscopic litter and its degradation into secondary microplastic as a major source of environmental pollution, one key challenge is understanding the pathways from macro- to microplastic by abiotic and biotic environmental impact. So far, little is known about the impact of biota on material properties. This study focuses on recycled, bottle-grade poly(ethylene terephthalate) (r-PET) and the degrading enzyme PETase from Ideonella sakaiensis. Compact tension (CT) specimens were incubated in an enzymatic solution and thermally and mechanically characterized. A time-dependent study up to 96 h revealed the formation of steadily growing colloidal structures. After 96 h incubation, high amounts of BHET dimer were found in a near-surface layer, affecting crack propagation and leading to faster material failure. The results of this pilot study show that enzymatic activity accelerates embrittlement and favors fragmentation. We conclude that PET-degrading enzymes must be viewed as a potentially relevant acceleration factor in macroplastic degradation. View Full-Text
Keywords: polymer degradation; microplastic; nanoplastic; PETase; crack formation; fatigue crack propagation resistance; BHET; enzymatic degradation; enzyme; Ideonella sakaiensis; bis(hydroxyethyl)terephthalate polymer degradation; microplastic; nanoplastic; PETase; crack formation; fatigue crack propagation resistance; BHET; enzymatic degradation; enzyme; Ideonella sakaiensis; bis(hydroxyethyl)terephthalate
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MDPI and ACS Style

Menzel, T.; Weigert, S.; Gagsteiger, A.; Eich, Y.; Sittl, S.; Papastavrou, G.; Ruckdäschel, H.; Altstädt, V.; Höcker, B. Impact of Enzymatic Degradation on the Material Properties of Poly(Ethylene Terephthalate). Polymers 2021, 13, 3885. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13223885

AMA Style

Menzel T, Weigert S, Gagsteiger A, Eich Y, Sittl S, Papastavrou G, Ruckdäschel H, Altstädt V, Höcker B. Impact of Enzymatic Degradation on the Material Properties of Poly(Ethylene Terephthalate). Polymers. 2021; 13(22):3885. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13223885

Chicago/Turabian Style

Menzel, Teresa, Sebastian Weigert, Andreas Gagsteiger, Yannik Eich, Sebastian Sittl, Georg Papastavrou, Holger Ruckdäschel, Volker Altstädt, and Birte Höcker. 2021. "Impact of Enzymatic Degradation on the Material Properties of Poly(Ethylene Terephthalate)" Polymers 13, no. 22: 3885. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13223885

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