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Biosurfactants and Plastic Pollution

Impact: Environmental Impacts, Economic & Commercial Impacts, Health & Welfare Impacts, Societal Impacts

Description of impact

The University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Enzyme Innovation (CEI) researcher, Dr Pattanathu Rahman’s collaborative research brings us a step closer to solving the PETase plastic problem. Dr Rahman discovered a Teesside bacteria called Pseudomonas teessidea in which the plastic eating enzyme PETase can be synthesised.

Who is affected

The ongoing aspect of this project is to integrate machine learning techniques with metabolic modelling to develop an eco-friendly bacteria to support biosurfactant production and ultimately, use it as a tool to solve global environmental issues such as the plastic crisis.


Biosurfactants change the properties of the bacterial cell surface by increasing the availability of water repellent molecules; enhancing enzyme activity more than 100 fold against solid PET substances. This means coating surfaces with surfactants can accelerate enzymatic degradation of PET.

Category of impact

  • Environmental Impacts
  • Economic & Commercial Impacts
  • Health & Welfare Impacts
  • Societal Impacts

Related information



ID: 14463816