PET hydrolysing enzymes catalyse bioplastics precursor synthesis under aqueous conditions†
Poly(ethylene terephthalate) hydrolase (PETase) was used to catalyse a double transesterification to convert FDCA dimethyl ester to the bioplastics precursor bis-butandiol ester in good yield under aqueous conditions. The presence of high water content was important for high transesterification selectivity. CAL-A and CAL-B lipases showed low activity or extensive hydrolysis. The PETase bioconversion was demonstrated at gram scale and the transesterification products can be selectively extracted for use in polymerisation reactions.