HP Background



Each year, over 400 million tons of plastic are generated worldwide, with half being single-use plastic used briefly/ In 2021, Kazakhstan recycled less than 132,000 tons of plastic waste, representing just 21.9% of the country's annual plastic waste production, as per government data (UNDP, 2023). The rampant use of the non-biodegradable pollutant PET in plastics has unleashed a global environmental crisis. In response, we've conceived 'Plastikaiensis,' a solution harnessing the combined power of Ideonella sakaiensis' PET hydrolase and MHET hydrolase enzymes to orchestrate a systematic plastic decomposition process. Though we faced challenges last year, our research ignited a fervent determination to transform our boldest visions into reality, driving our relentless pursuit to finalize our research and validate our groundbreaking concepts.

7 types of plastic(Kaluga Regiona; Scientific Library, 2020):

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PET is the most popular and economically produced plastic. The majority of plastic bottles for beverages, ketchup, vegetable oil, and the packaging of cosmetic products are made of PET. PET is a material with excellent rigidity and resistance that is elastic and non fragile. This is why consumer goods manufacturers love it, as the packaging does not crack during transportation or when dropped from supermarket shelves. PET in its purest form is not toxic. However, to increase the polymer's thermal, light, and fire resistance properties, phthalates and other hazardous chemical compounds may be added to PET. It is important to keep in mind that this plastic is truly disposable. Reusing plastic bottles made of such materials is not recommended at all because doing so can result in the release of phthalates and heavy metals that can harm the nervous and cardiovascular systems as well as disrupt hormonal balance (Moscow daily news, 2022).

The PET's main disadvantage is that it takes more than 100 years for it to decompose in the natural environment. PET bottles are one of the world's leading ocean pollutants. More than 82 million tons of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are produced worldwide each year to make single-use beverage bottles, packaging, clothing and carpets, and it is one of the largest sources of plastic waste. Each type of plastic has its own molecular properties, which potentially require different deconstruction methods. PET can be broken down into monomers using several different chemical processes. However, the mechanical methods used for most PET recycling today can result in lower quality and less profitable products, resulting in low recycling rates. According to various sources, currently only 15% to 35% of all PET bottles find a second life (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2021).

Ideonella sakaiensis

Worldwide, poly(ethylene terephthalate, or PET), is widely used in plastic products, and its buildup in the environment has raised concerns for people all over the world. Biodegradation is not yet a practical remediation or recycling strategy because it has been believed that only a few fungal species have the ability to enzymatically degrade PET. A group of specialists from Japan's Keio University has discovered discovered the novel bacterium Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 by screening natural microbial communities exposed to PET in the environment. This bacterium can use PET as its primary energy and carbon source. This strain can hydrolyze PET and the intermediate of the reaction, mono(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalic acid, when grown on PET. PET must be effectively converted enzymatically into the two environmentally safe monomers terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol using both enzymes (Shosuke Yoshida, Kazumi Hiraga, Toshihiko Takena, 2016).

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In the preceding year, our research efforts were constricted by resource and temporal constraints, thereby permitting only rudimentary explorations, primarily concentrated on initial transformations. In the current year, we have transitioned into a collaborative framework with partnering academic institutions, diversifying our intellectual arsenal. This transformation has also facilitated invaluable guidance and insights from laboratory instructors and erudite professors. Notably, we have been privileged to count among our mentors Dr. Bisenbaev Amangeldy Kuanbaevich, a distinguished luminary in the realm of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, who currently serves as the Director of the Institute of Biology and Biotechnology at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. His eminence in fields encompassing Biochemistry, Genetic Engineering, Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Biotechnology has profoundly influenced our research trajectory. Our endeavors in the current year have included the mastery of dry lab techniques and the proficient crafting of plasmids. With an extended laboratory tenure spanning 1.5 months, we have conducted intricate experiments probing the intricate interplay of a singular protein. Each facet of our research advances us closer to realizing 'Plastikaiensis,' a transformative solution driven by Ideonella sakaiensis' PET hydrolase and MHET hydrolase enzymes, aimed at orchestrating an organized plastic decomposition process. The tribulations of the past year have fueled our unwavering commitment and determination, galvanizing our pursuit to substantiate our innovative concepts and inscribe our contributions into the annals of scientific achievement.


1. United Nations Development Programme UNDP. (2023, May 31) https://www.undp.org/ru/kazakhstan/stories/boy-plastiku

2. Moscow daily news (2022 ,March 20) Recycled PET plastic can be hazardous to your health. How scientists propose to solve the problem https://www.mn.ru/smart/pererabotannyj-pet-plastik-mozhet-byt-opasen-dlya-zdorovya-kak-uchenye-predlagayut-reshit-problemu

3. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2021, October 13) Researchers Engineer Microorganisms To Tackle PET Plastic Pollution https://www.nrel.gov/news/program/2021/researchers-engineer-microorganisms-to-tackle-pet-plastic-pollution.html#:~:text=More%20than%2082%20million%20metric,largest%20sources%20of%20plastic%20waste

4. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2021, October 13) Researchers Engineer Microorganisms To Tackle PET Plastic Pollution https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aad6359#:~:text=The%20new%20species%2C%20Ideonella% 20sakaiensis,basic%20building%20blocks%20for%20growth.

5. Kaluga Regional Scientific Library named after. V.G. Belinsky (2020, September 12) Types and markings of plastic. https://belinkaluga.ru/2020/09/12/vidy-i-markirovka-plastika/?doing_wp_cron=1694290532.2697880268096923828125

6. Prosto Remont (2023) Types of plastic.Which ones are safe and where are they used? https://prosto-remont.com/blog/vidy-plastika