QiuYuan Huang, Masatoshi Hiyama, Taizo Kabe, Satoshi Kimura, and Tadahisa Iwata*


Non-biodegradable microplastics have become a global problem. We propose a new enzyme-embedded biodegradable plastic that can be self-biodegraded anytime and anywhere. Proteinase K from Tritirachium album was embedded in poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA). The PLLA solution-cast film with embedded proteinase K showed weight loss of 78% after 96 h incubation. In addition, PLLA extruded films embedding immobilized proteinase K encapsulated in polyacrylamide were produced at 200 °C and embedded-enzyme degradation was monitored. Immobilized proteinase K embedded in the extruded film maintained its degradation activity and degraded the PLLA film from inside to make small holes and cavities, suggesting that immobilization is a powerful technique to prepare thermoforms with embedded enzymes. The rate of embedded-enzyme degradation was accelerated by dividing the film into smaller pieces, which can be regarded as a model experiment for biodegradation of microplastics. Various biodegradable plastics with specific embedded enzymes will contribute to solve global environmental problems.

Paper Information

: Biomacromolecules
: 10.1021/acs.biomac.0c00759