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Open AccessArticle

A New Esterase from Thermobifida halotolerans Hydrolyses Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and Polylactic Acid (PLA)

1
ACIB GmbH, Petersgasse 14, A-8010 Graz, Austria
2
Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Graz University of Technology, A-8010 Graz, Austria
3
Institute for Environmental Biotechnology, Graz University of Technology, A-8010 Graz, Austria
4
Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz, A-8010 Graz, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2012, 4(1), 617-629; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym4010617
Received: 31 December 2011 / Revised: 7 February 2012 / Accepted: 8 February 2012 / Published: 21 February 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enzymes in Monomer and Polymer Synthesis)
A new esterase from Thermobifida halotolerans (Thh_Est) was cloned and expressed in E. coli and investigated for surface hydrolysis of polylactic acid (PLA) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Thh_Est is a member of the serine hydrolases superfamily containing the -GxSxG- motif with 85–87% homology to an esterase from T. alba, to an acetylxylan esterase from T. fusca and to various Thermobifida cutinases. Thh_Est hydrolyzed the PET model substrate bis(benzoyloxyethyl)terephthalate and PET releasing terephthalic acid and mono-(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate in comparable amounts (19.8 and 21.5 mmol/mol of enzyme) while no higher oligomers like bis-(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate were detected. Similarly, PLA was hydrolyzed as indicated by the release of lactic acid. Enzymatic surface hydrolysis of PET and PLA led to a strong hydrophilicity increase, as quantified with a WCA decrease from 90.8° and 75.5° to 50.4° and to a complete spread of the water drop on the surface, respectively. View Full-Text
Keywords: enzymatic polyester functionalization; Thermobifida halotolerans esterase enzymatic polyester functionalization; Thermobifida halotolerans esterase
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Ribitsch, D.; Herrero Acero, E.; Greimel, K.; Dellacher, A.; Zitzenbacher, S.; Marold, A.; Rodriguez, R.D.; Steinkellner, G.; Gruber, K.; Schwab, H.; Guebitz, G.M. A New Esterase from Thermobifida halotolerans Hydrolyses Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and Polylactic Acid (PLA). Polymers 2012, 4, 617-629.

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