Recent advances in the biological depolymerization and upcycling of polyethylene terephthalate

Lita Amalia, Chia Yu Chang, Steven S.S. Wang, Yi Chun Yeh, Shen Long Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is favored for its exceptional properties and widespread daily use. This review highlights recent advancements that enable the development of biological tools for PET decomposition, transforming PET into valuable platform chemicals and materials in upcycling processes. Enhancing PET hydrolases' catalytic activity and efficiency through protein engineering strategies is a priority, facilitating more effective PET waste management. Efforts to create novel PET hydrolases for large-scale PET depolymerization continue, but cost-effectiveness remains challenging. Hydrolyzed monomers must add additional value to make PET recycling economically attractive. Valorization of hydrolysis products through the upcycling process is expected to produce new compounds with different values and qualities from the initial polymer, making the decomposed monomers more appealing. Advances in synthetic biology and enzyme engineering hold promise for PET upcycling. While biological depolymerization offers environmental benefits, further research is needed to make PET upcycling sustainable and economically feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103053
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Feb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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