The iGEM Makerere University team worked on PET plastic biodegradation project utilizing the plastic degrading genes discovered from the unusual bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis. The team engineeredE. coli with two genes from Ideonella sakaiensis, a bacterium that was shown in 2016 to digest polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic. PET is one of the primary pollutants in Uganda, often in the form of bottles and other consumer materials. The pair of enzymes that the team identified is sufficient for hydrolyzing PET into its two environmentally safe monomers, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. The team believed that their project would result in a cheap, hassle-free method of dealing with the large amounts of PET plastic pollution in Uganda.
Currently, the team aims to link this to a system that converts the byproducts of plastic degradation into biofuel.
For more detailed information about the project, follow their wiki link below.http://2018.igem.org/Team:Makerere_University