Characterization of the molecular mechanisms producing the effect of plastic biodegradation

When a thin film (20-­‐30 µm) of PE is placed in contactwith the biological agent the area in touch results vanished. The PE film in contact is clearly vanished.

We found that the chemical structure of the plastic is altered, with introduction of oxygen (oxidation) and formation of still unknown by-products. (reference to the paper). This oxidation is key to this discovery. The main goal is to identify the molecular mechanisms responsible for this reaction.

This represents the main objective of the whole project. It articulates in several sections, embracing several aspects of the wax worm life cycle and its potential influence on the biodegradation activity. The experimental approach includes state-of-the-art techniques in different fields, necessary to the full comprehension of the wax worm activity.



Development of the biotechnology

This aspect of the project deals with the chemistry of the reaction. This implies deployment of diverse technologies to have a full spectrum of the possible biodegradation products, and their potential application.



Identification and analysis of the by-products derived by PE biodegradation

The speed of the process points at enzymatic activities produced by the wax worm. Once identified (see 1), our target is the large-scale production of the molecules of interest, usinggenetic engineering techniques.

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