an official journal of: published by:
an official journal of: published by:
Editor in Chief: RAFFAELLO COSSU


  • Georg M. Guebitz - Department of Agrobiotechnology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences,, Austria - Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB), Austria
  • Felice Quartinello - Department of Agrobiotechnology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria - Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB), Austria
  • Doris Ribitsch - Department of Agrobiotechnology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria - Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB), Austria

Released under CC BY-NC-ND

Copyright: © 2022 CISA Publisher


Novel strategies allowing environmentally friendly recycling of plastics are strongly needed. Enzymes have shown high potential, especially for the recovery of building blocks from multilayer materials which will be discussed in this paper. It has been shown that enzymes can specifically hydrolyze and solubilize certain components of blended packaging materials or mixed wastes. This allows a step—wise recovery of valuable building blocks which can be used for re-synthesis or for bioproduction (e.g. recovered glucose). However, despite the high potential of biocatalysts, even more efficient enzymes are required for economic industrial implementation. In this paper, which is based on a contribution to the SUM 2022 conference, we will consequently demonstrate how enzyme discovery can lead to more powerful tools for plastics recycling and provide some examples.


Editorial History

  • Received: 17 Jun 2022
  • Revised: 02 Aug 2022
  • Accepted: 29 Aug 2022
  • Available online: 14 Sep 2022


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DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-21825-9

Blackwell, CJ., Haernvall, K., Guebitz, GM., Groombridge, M., Gonzales, D., Khosravi, E. 2018. Enzymatic Degradation of Star Poly(epsilon-Caprolactone) with Different Central Units. Polymers-BASEL, 10(11), 1266.
DOI 10.3390/polym10111266

Curia, S., Biundo, A., Fischer, I., Braunschmid, V., Guebitz, G M. Stanzione, J F., 2018. Towards Sustainable High-Performance Thermoplastics: Synthesis, Characterization, and Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Bisguaiacol-Based Polyesters, Chemsuschem., 11(15), 2529-2539.
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Gamerith, C., Herrero Acero, E., Pellis, A., Ortner, A., Vielnascher, R., Luschnig, D., Zartl, B., Haernvall, K., Zitzenbacher, S., Strohmeier, G., Hoff, O., Steinkellner, G., Gruber, K., Ribitsch, D., Guebitz, GM. 2016. Improving enzymatic polyurethane hydrolysis by tuning enzyme sorption. Polym. Degrad. Stab., 132, 69–77.
DOI 10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2016.02.025

Gamerith, C., Zartl, B., Pellis, A., Guillamot, F., Marty, A., Acero, EH., Guebitz. GM. 2017. Enzymatic recovery of polyester building blocks from polymer blends. Process Biochemistry, 59(58), 64.
DOI 10.1016/j.procbio.2017.01.004

Haernvall, K., Fladischer, P., Schoeffmann, H., Zitzenbacher, S., Pavkov-Keller T., Gruber, K., Schick, M., Yamamoto, M., Ribitsch, D., Guebitz, GM., Wiltschi, B. 2022. Residue-Specific Incorporation of the Non-Canonical Amino Acid Norleucine Improves Lipase Activity on Synthetic Polyesters. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol.,
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Haernvall, K; Zitzenbacher, S; Wallig, K; Yamamoto, M; Schick, BM; Ribitsch, D; Guebitz, GM. 2017. Hydrolysis of Ionic Phthalic Acid Based Polyesters by Wastewater Microorganisms and Their Enzymes; ENVIRON. SCI. TECHNOL. 2017, 51 (8), pp 4596–4605;
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.7b00062

Hou, S., Hoyle, DM., Blackwell, CJ., Haernvall, K., Perz, V., Guebitz, GM., Khosravi, E. 2016. Hydrolytic degradation of ROMP thermosetting materials catalysed by bio-derived acids and enzymes: from networks to linear materials. Green Chem., 18(19), 5190-5199.
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Kenny, S., Nikodinovic Runic, J., Kaminsky, W., Woods, T., Babu, R.P., Keely, C.M., Blau, W., O’Connor K.E. 2008

Up-Cycling of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) to the Biodegradable Plastic PHA (Polyhydroxyalkanoate)

Env. Sci. Technol. 42 (20), 7696-7701
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Muller, CA., Perz, V., Christoph, PA., Quartinello, F., Guebitz, GM., Berg, G. 2017. Discovery of Polyesterases from Moss-Associated Microorganisms. Appl. Environ. Microb., 83(4).
DOI 10.1128/AEM.02641-16

Pellis, A., Haernvall, K., Pichler, CM., Ghazaryan, G., Breinbauer, R., Guebitz, GM. 2016. Enzymatic hydrolysis of poly(ethylene furanoate). J. Biotechnol., 235, 47-53.
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Quartinello, F., Vajnhandl, S., Valh, J., Volmajer., Farmer, TJ., Voncina, B., Lobnik, A., Acero Herrero, E., Pellis, A., Guebitz, GM. 2017. Synergistic chemo-enzymatic hydrolysis of poly(ethylene terephthalate) from textile waste, Microbial Biotechnology, 10(6), 1376-1383.
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Quartinello, F., Vecchiato, S., Weinberger, S., Kremenser, K., Skopek, L., Pellis, A., Guebitz, GM. 2018. Highly Selective Enzymatic Recovery of Building Blocks from Wool-Cotton-Polyester Textile Waste Blends. Polymers-BASEL, 10(10), 1107.
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Ribitsch, D., Yebra, AO., Zitzenbacher, S.,Wu, J., Nowitsch, S., Steinkellner, G., Greimel, K., Doliska, A., Oberdorfer, G., Gruber, CC., Gruber, K., Schwab, H., Stana-Kleinschek, K., Acero, EH., Guebitz, GM. 2013. Fusion of Binding Domains to Thermobifida cellulosilytica Cutinase to Tune Sorption Characteristics and Enhancing PET Hydrolysis. Biomacromolecules. 14(6), 1769-1776
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Vecchiato, S., Skopek, L., Jankova, S., Pellis, A., Ipsmiller, W., Aldrian, A., Mueller, B., Acero, E Herrero., Guebitz, G M. 2018. Enzymatic Recycling of High-Value Phosphor Flame-Retardant Pigment and Glucose from Rayon Fibers. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 6(2), 2386-2394,
DOI 10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b03840

Vecchiato, S., Skopek, L., Russmayer, H., Steiger, MG., Aldrian, A., Beer, B., Acero, EH., Guebitz, GM. 2019. Microbial production of high value molecules using rayon waste material as carbon-source. New Biotechnol., 51, 8-13.
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Wallace, PW., Haernvall, K., Ribitsch, D., Zitzenbacher, S., Schittmayer, M., Steinkellner, G., Gruber, K., Guebitz, GM., Birner-Gruenberger, R. 2017. PpEst is a novel PBAT degrading polyesterase identified by proteomic screening of Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol., 101, 2291-2303.
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Weinberger, S., Beyer, R., Schuller, C., Strauss, J., Pellis, A., Ribitsch, D., Guebitz, GM. 2020. High Throughput Screening for New Fungal Polyester Hydrolyzing Enzymes. Front. Microbiol., 11, 554.
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Weinberger, S., Canadell, J., Quartinello, F., Yeniad, B., Arias, A., Pellis, A., Guebitz, GM. 2017. Enzymatic Degradation of Poly(ethylene 2,5-furanoate) Powders and Amorphous Films, Catalysts, 7(11), 318.
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