Triggering of Polymer-Degrading Enzymes from Layered Double Hydroxides for Recycling Strategies
The use of degrading enzymes in polymer formulation is a very attractive strategy to manage the end-of-life of plastics. However, high temperatures cause the denaturation of enzymes and the loss of their catalytic activity; therefore, protection strategies are necessary. Once protected, the enzyme needs to be released in appropriate media to exert its catalytic activity. A successful protection strategy involves the use of layered double hydroxides: cutinase, selected as a highly degrading polyester hydrolytic enzyme, is thermally protected by immobilization in Mg/Al layered double hydroxide structures. Different triggering media are here evaluated in order to find the best releasing conditions of cutinase from LDH. In detail, phosphate and citrate–phosphate buffers, potassium carbonate, sodium chloride, and sodium sulfate solutions are studied. After the comparison of all media in terms of protein release and activity retained, phosphate buffer is selected as the best candidate for the release of cutinase from LDH, and the effect of pH and concentration is also evaluated. The amount of the enzyme released is determined with the Lowry method. Activity tests
are performed via spectrophotometry.