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Scientists create ‘super enzyme’ that eats plastic bottles six times faster

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Scientists create ‘super enzyme’ that eats plastic bottles six times faster. Scientists have created a new “super enzyme” that can break down plastic up to six times faster than their previous enzyme.

A team of researchers that previously re-engineered a plastic-eating enzyme named PETase have now combined it with a second enzyme to speed up the process, according to a press release from the University of Portsmouth.

The super enzyme could have major implications for recycling polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is the most common thermoplastic used in single-use drinks bottles, carpets, and clothing.
Project co-lead John McGeehan pictured in the laboratory.
Project co-lead John McGeehan pictured in the laboratory.
PET takes hundreds of years to degrade in the environment. PETase can break it down into its building blocks in a few days.

John McGeehan, lead co-author and director of the Centre for Enzyme Innovation at the University of Portsmouth, told CNN that this latest development represents a huge stop towards using enzymes to recycle plastic and reduce plastic pollution.

“We were actually quite surprised it worked so well,” said McGeehan, although he underlined that the process is “still way too slow” to be commercially viable.
He told CNN that researchers have received funding to carry out further experiments, and successful developments could mean existing PET could be recycled instead of using fossil fuels to create new plastic.
“We’re looking at huge energy savings,” said McGeehan.
The two enzymes were effectively stitched together.

The two enzymes were effectively stitched together.

How does it work?

The super enzyme combines PETase and MHETase. A mixture of the two breaks down PET twice as fast as PETase on its own, while connecting the two enzymes increased the speed by a further three times.
McGeehan used the Diamond Light Source, a device that uses X-rays 10 billion times brighter than the Sun to be able to see individual atoms, to map the molecular structure of MHETase.

Could unlocking the mystery of the mealworm's gut help solve our plastic crisis?
Could unlocking the mystery of the mealworm’s gut help solve our plastic crisis?
Researchers were then able to engineer the new super enzyme by connecting MHETase and PETase, effectively stitching the enzymes DNA together to create one long chain, McGeehan told CNN.

The technique is commonly used in the biofuels industry, which uses enzymes to break down cellulases, but McGeehan said this is the first he is aware of enzymes being combined to break down plastic.
The full study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

How else can plastic be broken down?
Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues. A recent report from The Pew Charitable Trusts projected the volume of plastic entering the ocean could nearly triple to 29 million metric tons per year by 2040 — the equivalent of 50 kilograms for every meter of the planet’s coastline.
It also said there was “no single solution,” but that “an ambitious recycling strategy” could slash 31-45% of plastic pollution.

In April, French firm Carbios announced the publication of a study into its own PET-eating enzyme, which will be tested at a demonstration plant near the city of Lyon in 2021, according to a press release from the company.

Other possible solutions include the tiny waxworm, which can chomp through plastic, even polyethylene, a common and non-biodegradable plastic currently clogging up landfills and seas, thanks to its gut bacteria.
Mealworms, the larval stage of the mealworm beetle, could also contribute. Around 3,000-4,000 mealworms can break down one Styrofoam coffee cup in about a week thanks to the bacteria living in their gut.
Scientists create ‘super enzyme’ that eats plastic bottles six times faster.

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NDC supporter dies after accidental gunshot

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A man believed to be a supporter of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has died after he was reportedly shot accidentally by a friend.

The incident as reported by CitiNews occurred on Sunday, November 22, 2020, at a rally organized by the NDC.

The unfortunate incident happened when the supporters were dismantling canopies and chairs used for the rally.

ASP Thomas Tulasi, the Police commander of Gushegu narrated that one of the supporters was toying with the gun when it accidentally fired.

He said that investigations are ongoing to unravel the full details of the incident.

“One person was holding a pistol, and he was fidgeting with it, and then he fired it and killed the brother. We are now investigating the matter to know the actual cause of the incident and the one who actually fired the gunshot. They belong to the same party and this happened after the rally when they were dismantling the canopy”, he said.

Supporters of the two leading parties clashed last week which left six persons in critical condition.

One person who was picked up in connection with the skirmishes in Karaga on Monday has been granted bail.

Neither of the two parties took the blame for the incident as they both blamed each other for the occurrence.

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Lawra NPP Chairman attacked, robbed of campaign pickup

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The NPP Chairman for the Lawra Constituency in the Upper West Region, Alhaji Mohammed Donkor is reported to have been attacked by some armed supporters of the party.

Sources say the men, fully armed, attacked the occupants of a campaign vehicle driven by the chairman’s personal driver and confiscated the pickup.

The incident is reported to have occurred on Sunday, November 22 at about 11:30 pm.

Confirming the said incident, Alhaji Mohammed Donkor noted that although persons in his vehicle were attacked, they all escaped unharmed.

“We returned from Brifor Chaa where we went for a campaign. So when we got to Lawra I asked the driver to go and drop some people who travelled from the village to support us in the campaign.

“So it was on his way that Karbo’s boys attacked him with catalyses and took my vehicle away,” he added.

The Lawra NPP Chairman disclosed that the incident has been reported to the Lawra Municipal Police Command for investigation.

Upper West Regional Organiser of the NPP, Mustapher Goveh revealed that party executives have been brought to speed on the alleged attack.

According to him, Alhaji Mohammed Donkor has been accused of using the party’s pickup to campaign against the Lawra MP and Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Anthony Abaefaa Karbo.

But some party supporters claim the regional executives of the party have already taken sides in the feud between the Lawra MP and the party chairman.

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Rawlings’s death not natural – Bishop Owusu Bempah

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Former President Jerry John Rawlings did not die a natural death, Bishop Isaac Owusu Bempeh, head pastor of the Glorious Word Power Ministries, has said.

According to him, Mr Rawlings was killed in the spiritual realm by some prominent politicians in Ghana.

He made the revelation on Net 2 television on Monday, November 23.

“Former President Rawlings’s death was not natural, his death was spiritual,” he said.

“I had a vision in which I saw three different human hearts popping champagne and jubilating while the lifeless body of Mr Rawlings was resting on the table. These hearts were just jubilating and smiling while they were looking at the lifeless body of Mr Rawlings.

“I am a spiritual person and so I understand these things and know who those hearts stand for. Somebody in Ghana is looking for political power and he will never get that power. I will always say it because I am not scared of anybody. Nobody can kill me and so I will always tell the truth.” he added.

Bishop Owusu Bempah added that “I will make more revelations after the elections on December 7.”

Mr Rawlings died on Thursday, November 12 at the Korle Bu Teaching hospital after suffering a short illness.

He was 73 years.

 

source: 3news.com

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