Researchers at Martin Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) in Germany have discovered that enzymes are capable of degrading synthetic polyisoprene.
The specific conditions needed for this to occur were created and exploited by the researchers. Polyisoprene is the principal component of natural rubber, a material used for the production of car tires. Until now, the degradation of polyisoprene has only been possible with a composition that is similar to naturally occurring rubber. The MLU and the IPB believe that the research could provide important insights for a move toward a circular economy.
“Various bacteria are able to degrade natural polyisoprene with the help of enzymes,” explained MLU chemist Vico Adjedje. …