Project Type

URC Presentation


College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

College or School


Class Year




Faculty Research Advisor

Kang Wu


Plastic is something that is synonymous to the twenty-first century. However, this has come at an inevitable cost. My project was to utilize spore surfaces to display plastic degrading enzymes which could potentially yield a robust and cost-effective way to tackle the plastic problem. Most of my efforts were spent on cloning the genomic sequences for the plastic degrading enzymes onto a vector and then transforming that vector into E. coli. There are two enzymes which work in a pathway to breakdown Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), PETase and MHETase. PETase converts the PET polymer into MHET, and MHETase hydrolyzes MHET into ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid, both of which are biodegradable. The genomic sequences for the enzymes were cloned onto a vector. The DNA of interest is annealed to a vector, thereby assembling a plasmid. This plasmid is then transformed into E. coli for amplification and to test whether the sequence of interest is present in the plasmid. PETase sequences were successfully cloned and transformed, however MHETase sequences had little or no yield. The next step is to successfully clone the MHETase sequences and transform it, and then to purify the protein products.


All diagrams were constructed by me. Only the reverences to other papers can qualify as third party.