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The power of evolved ancestral enzymes to solve plastic sustainability.REVOLUZION

Programme: Proyectos de I+D+i en líneas estratégicas, en colaboración público-privada 2021. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación- Agencia Estatal de Investigación.

Duration: 36 months. November 2021 – October 2024

Partners:  Kompuestos (coordinator), CSIC, ICP, CIB, Universidad de Granada, Aitiip

More information: Lidia García (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

RevoluZion project offers itself as a holistic solution to the end-of-life of plastics. The environmental impact of some plastics is currently highly negative due to erratic waste management (around 500,000 t of such waste ends up polluting oceans and soil or the atmosphere after incineration). Using advanced enzyme engineering, the project will develop up to three formulations of innovative bio-based bioplastic materials (biopolyester blends as matrix and enzymatic functional additives). Through directed evolution, high-potential "tailor-made" enzymes will be designed, which will be capable of programmed biodegradation and compostability.

The customisation of enzymes will be carried out, firstly, through the reconstruction of ancestral proteins (recovering the original genetic structures of the enzymes), whose high properties will favour the enzyme's capacity for resistance to extreme conditions and optimise it to accelerate the biodegradation of the base material of the prototypes to be developed within the framework of the project (packaging and mulching for agriculture). Previously encapsulated, the integration of the improved enzyme into the thermoplastic additive will be carried out by extrusion and injection processes.

Revoluzion's technology, which will enable the recycling of bioplastics, will reduce the carbon footprint derived from the incineration of plastics by 70%, as well as minimising greenhouse gases by 50%, or the energy required in plastic degradation processes. In addition, biomarkers (fluorescent proteins) will be included to help identify bioplastics in recycling plants.

This project has received funding from the European Union - NextGeneration EU - PLEC2021-008188 / MCIN/ AEI / 10.13039/501100011033/PRTR