Cutinases are promising agents for poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) bio-recycling because of their ability to produce the PET monomer terephthalic acid with high efficiency under mild reaction conditions. In this study, we found that the low-crystallinity PET (lcPET) hydrolysis activity of thermostable cutinase from Thermobifida fusca (TfCut2), was increased by the addition of cationic surfactant that attracts enzymes near the lcPET film surface via electrostatic interactions. This approach was applicable to the mutant TfCut2 G62A/F209A, which was designed based on a sequence comparison with PETase from Ideonella sakaiensis. As a result, the degradation rate of the mutant in the presence of cationic surfactant increased to 31 ± 0.1 nmol min−1 cm−2, 12.7 times higher than that of wild-type TfCut2 in the absence of surfactant. The long-duration reaction showed that lcPET film (200 μm) was 97 ± 1.8% within 30 h, the fastest biodegradation rate of lcPET film thus far. We therefore believe that our approach would expand the possibility of enzyme utilization in industrial PET biodegradation.
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