Team:METU Turkey


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We are Team METU Turkey!

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Degredo PETronum!


This year's METU iGEM Team is composed of eight undergraduates, two advisors, and two graduate students. We come from different areas of study, but we're all working together on this year's synthetic biology project for the iGEM competition. Due to the global impact of plastic pollution, we have decided to focus on biodegradation of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is a widely used material, commonly found in plastic bottles, textiles, and other consumer goods. However, only a small percentage of it ends up being recycled, it became a global issue, and achieving our goal would have a big impact on the issue of plastic degradation.

"Nature doesn't make things like that," said Kenneth Peters, an organic geochemist at Stanford University, "so organisms have never seen that before."

How our project will be helpful?

With increasing global consumption and their natural resistance to degradation, plastic materials and their accumulation in the environment is becoming of increasing concern.PET used for carbonated soft drink bottles, processed meat packages peanut butter jars pillow and sleeping bag filling, textile fibers. The issue of plastic pollution has evolved to become a threat to global ecology. Plastic pollution arises from both terrestrial and marine (like bags,pots and bottles). Of course, plastic buried in a landfill rarely sees the light of day. But in the ocean, which is where a lot of discarded grocery bags, soft drink bottles and six-pack rings end up, plastic is bathed in as much light as water. In 2009, researchers from Nihon University in Chiba, Japan, found that plastic in warm ocean water can degrade in as little as a year. This doesn't sound so bad until you realize those small bits of plastic are toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer. These end up in the guts of animals or wash up on shorelines, where humans are most likely to come into direct contact with the toxins. With our project we aim to clean environment from waste PET(like bags,pots and bottles) by biodegradation with E.coli. With this project, PET would reduced to pyruvate, the world will be cleaned from PET and our bacteria could use PET as a food-energy source. All universe is happy! References Ahmed, S. , Haamed, A., Hasan, F., Shah A.A., (2008)Biological degradation of plastics: A comprehensive review. Biotechnology Advances. 26(3).246-265. Retrieved from Harris, W. (2014). How long does it take for plastics to biodegrade? Retrieved from Webb, H.K., Arnott, J., Crawford, R., Ivanova, E. (28 December 2012 )Plastic Degradation and Its Environmental Implications with Special Reference to Poly(ethylene terephthalate). Polymers 2013, 5, 1-18. Retrieved from

Why did we choose this project?

All over the world, pollution is a huge problem. People are so reckless and unconcious about pollution and recycling, precautions of governments are usually insufficient. For example, Americans generate abo¬ut 210 million tons (231 million short tons) of trash, or solid waste, each year. Most of this trash (57 percent) gets placed in municipal landfills. About 56 million tons (27 percent) is recovered through either recycling, (such as glass, paper products, plastic or metals) or through composting. So we wanted to make people conscious of pollution and importance of recycling, also tried to give a solution for cleaning enviroment from this toxic waste because it is known that plastics contain toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomers. References Freudenrich,C., (2014) How Composting Works. Retrieved from

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