Takuya Matsumoto

Assistant Professor,Department of Chemical Engineering, Osaka Prefecture University*Profile is at the time of the award.

2020Inamori Research GrantsBiology & Life sciences

Research topics
Development of PET degrading enzyme working in organic solvent
The disposal of waste plastic is now a global problem, as was the subject of the 2019 Osaka G20 Summit. In this study, I focused on the treatment of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) using PET degrading enzymes, which can degrade PET into monomers that can be metabolized by microorganisms, but the degradation activity and solvent stability of the wild-type enzymes are insufficient. Therefore, by improving the solvent stability of PET degradation enzymes using evolutionary molecular engineering techniques, I will have made it possible to efficiently degrade PET, thereby contributing to solving the problem of waste plastic.


I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Inamori Foundation for selecting me for a research grant. I would like to contribute to solving the problem of waste plastics by working on this research project.

Outline of Research Achievments

In this study, we focused on plastic decomposition by using polyethylene terephthalate (PET)-degrading enzyme. Ideonella sakaiensis has been isolated as a microorganism that can grow with PET as a carbon source. I. sakaiensis produces hydrolases (PETase and MHETase), which are capable of decomposing polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Generally, an enzymatic reaction is carried out in an aqueous condition, however, PET is not soluble in water. For facilitating the degradation of PET by enzymes, PET should be dissolved or swollen in such as organic solvent. Therefore, the objective of this study is the development of organic solvent-tolerant enzymes for the efficient decomposition of PET. PETase and MHETase were successfully expressed in Escherichia coli, and purified enzymes were carried out for the degradation of PET in several organic solvents. The degradation of PET by PETase was improved in the presence of methanol or DMSO. These results show the potential of enzyme-mediated PET degradation in the presence of an organic solvent.

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Biology & Life sciences